Director Todd Douglas Miller brings pristine 65mm film footage together with original audio archives to recreate the Apollo 11 mission from liftoff to splashdown. In 93 minutes, you’ll see and hear from the people that made it happen and brought the world together for one brief moment in time.
2019, Color, Rated G, 1 Hr 33 mins
DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1, 2.20:1 Aspect Ratio
Starring: Niel Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin, Michael Collins
Directed by: Todd Douglas Miller
This documentary is one of the purest uses of the film genre I’ve ever seen. There is no narration, no dramatization, and no CGI. The story of the Apollo 11 mission is told only with original footage and audio. There are no actors or voiceovers; this is the pinnacle of reality TV. The 65mm film footage is beyond stunning. The detail, color, and quality are something that simply cannot be recreated digitally. Watching Apollo 11 is the closest any human being can get to an actual time machine. You’ll see not only the astronauts but the thousands of support personnel in mission control, in the assembly process, and during the preparation for liftoff. Their emotions are real, and the film portrays every one of them in detail. I doubt there is a single historical event better documented than this and director Todd Douglas Miller has done a masterful job of distilling it all into 93 minutes. If you are even mildly interested in the history of NASA and the space program, you must add Apollo 11 to your library.
The imagery is simply breathtaking. Most of the footage comes from pristine 65mm film that has been lovingly cared for and scanned in 8K. The color is vivid and bold with strong primaries. Detail is incredible as is contrast with deep blacks and bright highlights. As clean and slick as modern digital movies are, they just can’t compare with the feel of premium quality film like this.
The box reports Dolby Digital 5.1 as the encode but it is actually DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1. And it sounds amazing. The creators went through over 18,000 hours of archived audio to find just the right elements to tell the story. It’s all dialog but it is crystal clear, even the parts coming from radio transmissions. It just doesn’t get any better or more real than this.
There is little need for bonus features here but a three-minute short is included that talks about the scanning process and the work that went into creating the film. It’s well-worth watching.