On its fiftieth anniversary, the events surrounding the actual Apollo 11 space mission are presented solely using archival footage and still photographs of or associated with the mission. The events span from the eleventh hour preparations for the launch to shortly after the safe touchdown of the capsule with its three astronauts back on Earth. The mission is historic as the first time humans had stepped on the surface of the Earth's moon. It arguably made household names of Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin as the first and second to walk on the moon, and slightly less so for the third astronaut, Michael Collins, who remained inside the capsule at the time. It was arguably the most dangerous space mission at the time in part to the astronauts leaving the safety of the capsule.Written by
The electronic music soundtrack was played entirely on instruments available in 1969. See more »
When the returning Apollo 11 blasts away from moon orbit, there is a dual visual display showing elapsed rocket burn time and spacecraft speed. The speed rapidly increases to just over 5500 mph during the rocket burn, and then the rocket cuts off. But the speed continues to increase for a few more moments. In reality, the speed would have stopped increasing the instant the rocket cut off. This is not an error as the residual bleed of the engine slowly being shut off will result in a slight continuation of acceleration. See more »
The film starts the morning of launch day July 16, 1969. There are no actors, no reenactments, no narrator. It is 100% restored archival footage and recorded audio, most of which I had never seen before. Opening footage of the crowds gathering around Kennedy Space Center gave you the sense it was apparent to everyone the magnitude of what was about to happen.
They had audio and video of (an issue I won't spoil, something during launch prep I had never heard of before). Obviously there is no external footage of the spacecraft from the time it leaves earth orbit until it arrived at the moon but the editing and coverage used are excellent and you never feel like you're in the dark or missing out.
There is no attempt made at politicizing the event or manipulating the viewer, it is raw, factual cinéma vérité. Although I did find Kennedy's speech moving, they made the excellent choice to NOT show the famous portion we've all heard about landing a man on the moon and returning him safely by the end of the decade. It was the rest of that speech, which I'm not sure I'd ever heard, that was astute, prophetic and even funny at one point.
My one very minor caution is that viewers who aren't already aware how critical/dangerous some maneuvers were could miss out on the gravity of the situation. The filmmakers do assist with this with the score, which is absolutely fantastic (and according to the credits, composed entirely with instruments available in July '69), and some minor on-screen graphics (e.g. FUEL 30 seconds, 1202 alarm). It's a trivial concern but viewers who are familiar with the space program in general, and this mission in particular, will get the most out of the experience.
The film wraps up after our astronauts are safely home and cleared from quarantine. During the credits there are a few more interesting shots of some of the celebrations.
41 of 43 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?
| Report this