The man in the title is British-American multimillionaire Richard Garriott, who made his pile designing PC "virtual world" role-playing games, most famously the best-selling Ultima series. Garriott has since used his money to create his own virtual world, dressing in Renaissance festival duds, assuming the alter ego "Lord British," and constructing an eccentric mansion, "Britannia Manor," in Austin. The mission of the title is Garriott's most elaborate flight of fancy, a commercial trip on a Russian Soyuz spacecraft in 2008, a 10-day voyage that included a visit to the International Space Station. This undertaking came with a $30M price tag and required a year of training, extensively documented here. The one possible point of interest in Garriott's vanity travelogue is the footage he brings back from his stellar cruise, but it's certain that enthusiasts of space travel will have seen finer, more professional versions of these images elsewhere. It is difficult, in fact, to discern who the intended audience is for Man on a Mission, save aspirant cosmonauts with a fortune to burn in the atmosphere, or perhaps the Garriott family. It should be mentioned that Garriott's father, Owen, was himself a Skylab astronaut, a fact of which much is made—but that only more obviously shows Man on a Mission for what it is: a puffed-up home movie.
Garriott (left) and his fellow cosmonauts.
Opens Fri., Feb. 10 at SIFF Film Center. Not rated. 94 minutes.