Apollo 11 (2019)

TODD DOUGLAS MILLER

Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBBBUSA, 2019, Cinematography by Produced by , , Music by Film Editing by Todd Douglas Miller.  Gotham Awards 2019.  

To celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of the walk on the moon, an event that propelled scientific achievement forward and captured the imagination of the entire planet, NASA has released a mass of gorgeous, pristine footage, all of it filmed in 65 or 70 millimeter and much of it never seen before, and has created this work of poetry on celluloid. There are no talking heads, there is no narration, there is simply music (specifically using only technology that existed in 1969) and the footage itself, arranged chronologically to guide you, in ninety very satisfying minutes, through the entire mission: the astronauts prepare, the rocket is launched, the men travel through space and, eventually Neil Armstrong utters those now legendary (though in present day somewhat sexist) words before the return voyage home. It’s hard to remember in a much more tech-savvy age where computer power runs our daily lives, but the idea of sending humans hurtling through space using machinery possessing the combined computer power of today’s pocket calculators was basically magic at the time, even when you consider that the best minds in physics played no small part in making it happen (which to those of us not good at physics, basically seems like magic).  One of the best qualities of this film is how effective it is at putting you right back in the mindset of a more innocent time, though its greatest gift is the footage itself; fans of For All Mankind should definitely add this one to their library.

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