Right off the bat, I am going to tell you to run don’t walk to your nearest IMAX theatre and see this film. The liftoff sequence is one of the greatest film experiences of my life and is worth the price of admission on its own. Todd Douglas Miller has created a film that is both thrilling and moving, in fact, several times the film brought tears to my eyes.
Apollo 11 is a masterful piece of editing, using never before seen footage combined with audio of the exchanges between the astronauts and master control to bring us a film that even though you know how it ends will have you on the edge of your seat. The film makes you feel as you are in the control room with the men and women of NASA as one of the most outstanding feats that man has ever done evolves before your eyes.
When I was eleven, I saw the Apollo moonwalk live on a small black and white TV in a small town in Mexico. That experience made me what I call a ‘space junky’, devouring any footage I could get on space exploration. This film has footage that I have never seen before, and I was blown away by some of the scenes in the film, including footage from some of the discarded pieces of the launch rocket.
The film has one of the greatest soundtracks that I have ever witnessed, creating tension when needed as we see on screen a countdown to all the key aspects of the mission. The film opens with the gigantic rocket being moved to the launch pad by a massive tractor which dwarfs the NASA workers that are making sure that it stays on track. The film does not have a narrator, mostly using the communication from master control and the astronauts, which makes it feel like you are a part of the mission. There are a couple of glances to put you back into 1969, like a phone call to the astronauts while they are on the moon from President Nixon or a couple of shots of Tonight Show host Johnny Carson at the launch of the rocket.
I can’t impress on you more to see this in an IMAX theater. The experience of seeing and hearing the launch of the mission is incredible. The photography of the launch is beautiful and the roar of the rockets is just breathtaking.
I loved how the film also showed us the life-signs of the astronauts during the mission. I loved how they showed that Neil Armstrong’s heart-rate went up to 150 beats per minute during the lunar module landing on the moon.
The editing of this film is brilliant using both film and audio to highlight the hard work that went into making sure that the crew not only landed on the moon but came back successfully. Some of the best sequences of the film are not on the spacecraft but in master control as we see all the people on the ground that made this mission work successfully.
The film does a great job to show us what a spectacle the mission was to the world. Showing us helicopter shots of the crowds gathered on the sides of roads to watch the launch to the great shots of the crowds of dignitaries on the NASA Cape Canaveral grounds show us just how important this event was.
There is a great sequence in the film where some NASA employees are watching the national news. The anchor talks about the Edward Kennedy Chappaquiddick incident that had just happened. The film then cuts to two mission control workers who talk about the incident.
The film brings to light just how amazing the accomplishment was, how everything on this very complicated mission had to go right and just how difficult and arduous it was to get men to the moon. I’m not ashamed that I had tears in my eyes a couple of times during this film, it just that moving.
This is an incredible film that captures the emotional tone of an event that the whole world watched. It is an amazing film that makes you feel that you are in master control, a part of a mission to land a man on the moon. ‘Apollo 11’ is a film that will make you believe not only in miracles but that mankind can accomplish the impossible.
Apollo 11 Review
My Rating: I Would Pay to See it Again
Mike’s Movie Rating System From Best to Worst:
1. I Would Pay to See it Again
2. Full Price
3. Bargain Matinee
5. You Would Have to Pay Me to See it Again