The moon landing was a giant leap forward for mankind, but America’s identity-obsessed progressives are determined to divide us back to the stone age.
“A Million Miles Away” is Hollywood’s latest attempt at an inspirational biopic that falls flat. It tells the story of Jose Hernandez, the real-life Mexican-American astronaut who became the first “migrant farm worker” to go into space — a fact that Amazon Studios is sure to emphasize in its promotional materials.
Yet both the moral and entertainment value of the film is sacrificed as Hernandez’s story collapses under the weight of progressive preaching. The film takes the universal message of America’s greatest scientific achievement and reduces it down to a mere checkbox in the left’s hierarchy of identities. (RELATED: The Utter Absurdity Of Hollywood’s Latest LGBT Propaganda Film)
The film is not about man conquering the limitations of humankind on a quest into the unknown, as all great space movies are. Rather, it is about a Mexican immigrant overcoming the obstacles of a racist society to live out his dream.
The film makes this abundantly clear from the very beginning. As a child in the 1960s, Hernandez leaves Mexico with his parents to travel up and down California as seasonal laborers. He excels in school whenever he can get away from field work. The white kids mock his accent but he embarrasses them in class with his intellect. We learn from a drawing of a rocket ship that he wants to be an astronaut some day.
Fast forward to adulthood, and Hernandez is working as a rocket science engineer helping to counter the Soviets. We see him discriminated against from his first day as white colleagues refuse to shake his hand. Despite his qualifications, he is relegated to the copy room and mistaken for the janitor. That changes when he makes a breakthrough that all of his colleagues miss.
Yet still, his NASA applications continue to get rejected. “What do they have that you don’t?” his loving wife asks about the accepted applicants. “Well, they’re Caucasian…” is the first thing that comes to his mind. All those who discounted the power of diversity learned their lesson when Hernandez is finally admitted to NASA’s astronaut program on his 12th attempt.
Once in training, the only relationship the film bothers developing is one that fosters racial solidarity between Hernandez and another Indian astronaut leading the program. “Is it worth it?” he asks her. “Do you know how important it is that someone like you or I go up on this [next space flight]?” she responds, in an obligatory woke tome on “representation.” It is hardly believable that the real people actually bothered thinking of themselves this way as they went through grueling training toward a much higher and unifying goal. (RELATED: The Scariest Movie Of All Time Could Never Be Made Today)
Yet this is the recurring theme of the film. It lingers far longer on Hernandez’s cultural identity than it does exploring his drive to conquer man’s final frontier. Traditional food and music, the difficulty of overcoming language and cultural barriers, and the prevalence of gang violence in California’s immigrant community all take up multiple scenes. Hernandez’s family is unconditionally supportive of him chasing his dreams while still encouraging him to remember his humble roots. The immigrant community as a whole is tight knit, as well-meaning regulars at his wife’s restaurant encourage him throughout. Unsurprisingly, the film omits any mention of religion in a community known for its deep-rooted Catholicism.
With this obsessive focus, the film succumbs to the inevitable, sacrificing all aspects of Hernandez’s individualism (and genuine exceptionalism) on the altar of group identity. In fact, we don’t get much understanding of why Hernandez wants to be an astronaut at all. Sure, it’s his “big dream” — but when his son asks why he wants to go to space all he can muster is a modest “I don’t know…” before trailing off.
This makes it not just a shallow and boring film, replete with cheesy quips and a run time 30 minutes too long. It is more than an uninspiring story about an inspiring man — it is a missed opportunity. The promise of the civil rights era — and likely, given his generation, the way Hernandez thought about his own journey — was that all could one day succeed in America no matter their color or creed. Hernandez’s story is proof of the progress we’ve achieved.
There is nothing more unifying than space travel. We once took pride in the moon landing, knowing it was not just a victory against the Soviets but a victory for all mankind. Our differences fall away as we explore the unknown — any discovery of life beyond would make us acutely aware of just how similar we all are.
Americans should take pride in being the place where an immigrant child from a poor family cannot only find success, but push boundaries of humankind. Instead, our cultural arbiters just want to look back and scoff at a society that should have made it easier for him to succeed. There will be no more moon landings in America’s future if we cannot get over the things that divide us, and instead focus on what should, in a sane world, unite us.