Apollo 11, rated G
Apollo 11 is an amazing documentary about the eight-day mission to land two men on the moon that took place nearly fifty years ago. The film is comprised primarily of restored color footage, much of which has never been seen before. It takes us from about three hours before liftoff on July 16, 1969 through the safe return of Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins and their subsequent eighteen days of quarantine.
The film is superbly directed and edited by Todd Douglas Miller. He uses never before seen full color footage from the NASA archives that was shot for a documentary that was ultimately abandoned. Much of the footage looks so good that it appears that it could have been shot yesterday. There are no actors, reenactments, narration, voice-over or interviews included. Instead, Miller tells the story of the mission in the present tense using the communications that actually took place between the astronauts and the supervisors, engineers and technicians speaking into headsets at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida and NASA Mission Control in Houston, along with a few comments from Walter Cronkite, and an excerpt from a 1961 speech about putting a man on the moon by President John F. Kennedy. He effectively uses narrative titles, countdown clocks and a small amount of animation that are helpful in showing the viewer the various mind-boggling maneuvers the mission will need to undergo in order to be successful. Continue reading