Spaceship Earth Image

Spaceship Earth

By Alan Ng | May 8, 2020

It sounds so crazy; it has to work. Those are the words spinning through my head watching Matt Wolf’s documentary, Spaceship Earth. Looking at the poster, I was certain this was a Disney Studios attraction-based movie based on the giant golf ball at EPCOT, but no, it’s all real.

Spaceship Earth is about eco-visionary John Allen (think the 70’s version of Elon Musk) and his group of “scientist” disciples. I use quotes only to pose the question, “does a scientist have to have formal college training to be called scientist?” Can you learn science from books and research without the aid of professors and final exams?

“Allen and crew begin challenging themselves in all aspects of living; be it farming, the arts, business, ecology, etc.”

John Allen could be described as a San Francisco hippie, who transformed his commune into a cult. That’s how the media portrayed him at the time, but Wolf’s documentary conclusively shows the man had a somewhat realistic dream to fulfill and something spectacular to prove to the world. Call it the next step of human evolution or a society akin the one portrayed in Star Trek. He wanted to move to the next plain, and with the help of colleagues/friends, he set out to do just that and got pretty damn close.

Immediately, Allen and crew begin challenging themselves in all aspects of living; be it farming, the arts, business, ecology, etc. Their first project was the geodesic dome—a not-so-large golfball of a building. They then built their own seafaring ship…from scratch…and traveled the world. The money for the projects came from billionaire Ed Bass, heir to a Texas oil empire. Amazingly, it was important to Allen and Bass that these crazy projects, made money…but not necessarily profit. And they did. Success was at Allen’s fingertips.

Spaceship Earth (2020)

Directed and Written: Matt Wolf

Starring: John Allen, Tony Burgess, Freddy Dempster, Kathelin Gray, Linda Leigh, Mark Nelson, Sally Silverstone, Marie Harding, Kathy Dyhr, Larry Winokour, etc.

Movie score: 8/10

Spaceship Earth Image

"…I could watch Spaceship Earth over and over again."

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