The Apollo Doc has the Right Stuff
The biggest criticism Damien Chazelle’s “First Man” suffered from was the fact that it was treated as a family drama, and didn’t care about placing the American flag on the moon. I can see that for sure, but I still enjoyed that movie for Ryan Gosling’s performance as Neil Armstrong. But for those of two who were truly disappointed with that unfaithful side, here is a doc that captures the reaction and preparation of the landing of the moon.
“Apollo 11” is that doc. It has no narrator, no actors, and no writers. It’s all about the truth and beauty of how it became part of American History. The event took place in July of 1969, but you already knew that. Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin, and Michael Collins were the three brave heroes to void into the great unknown. No stories, and no interviewees; just them doing what’s right for the fate of mankind.
I saw this movie in IMAX, and let me tell you: it looks and feels great. I wanted to make sure it didn’t have dramatization or actors; instead everything about it was filmed on the vintage cameras. Yet somehow, it looks crystal clear. The real thrills is the while mission. It really happened, but again, you already knew that.
By “everything,” I’m talking about the whole experience. It shows us Mission Control’s crew, the people watching the major event, the countdown, the ship flying over Earth, the computer tracker, the radio transmissions, and the landing (obviously it didn’t take 30 seconds to get there and back).
In recent documentary terms, I’ve praised “They Shall Not Grow Old” for its ability to tell a WWI story from the point of view of the soldiers. Now you’re asking me: “What does that have to do with this movie?” My answer: both these movies are wonderfully edited and and formatted for the best quality. Todd Douglas Miller (“Dinosaur 13”) is both the director and editor. Wow! Does he deserve major credit for bringing all this footage together.
Back to “First Man.” I liked that movie for the performances and special effects, but I see why some disliked it for forgetting about the American flag. “Apollo 11” captures everything, I mean everything, about the landing. I can’t expect many people are gonna see, because most of them have seen the event on television or the newspapers, so that’s understandable. But what I can do is let those “First Man” haters that this movie is true.
Long after it comes to Blu-Ray, I have a hunch this movie will be shown in History classes all across America. This is a major event in history, and we get to see the whole show.