Apollo Missions to the Moon Movie Review

apollo missions to the moon movie

Miller uses a mix of broadcast TV footage, home movies and never-before-heard NASA audio recordings to examine all missions within the Apollo Space Program – winning him an Emmy award in 2011. By forgoing traditional talking heads or Voice-Of-God commentary he adds more context and makes each moment feel more than just about Aldrin, Armstrong or Collins.

What to Expect

Most people living today know of the Apollo missions that took humanity to the moon. Each was an astonishing triumph of technology, imagination and perseverance – something this National Geographic documentary, featuring no narration but using NASA archived footage as its guideposts, vividly conveys. It weaves an engaging tale about their astronauts’ experiences while showing the intricate processes involved.

The film opens with a classic image: Saturn V rocket being pulled by massive tracks across a launchpad. This iconic moment instantly transports audiences into another dimension of reality and emotion. What distinguishes this film from similar works like First Man and Apollo 13 is how it humanizes each of the men who explored and conquered the lunar surface. We often forget just how hard these missions were in reality. Even the more high-tech aspects of this mission were highly hands-on; for instance, heat shields were applied using a caulking gun by hand while parachutes were sewn, packed, and folded by hand. Furthermore, watching their backstories — including those from their families and friends– gives this movie an emotional depth that you cannot find from more stylized movies with famous actors portraying them.

Director Todd Douglas Miller carefully assembled this movie without commentary or new interviews to allow the images and historic audio recordings speak for themselves, giving it an authentic feel that sets it apart from other space-themed documentaries (as well as many TV series such as From the Earth to the Moon this year and HBO drama Space in 2018)–almost as close as being there when Armstrong made history by saying, ‘One small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.”

Though technically a history lesson about the Apollo program and its race to the moon, this movie exudes magic and wonder. If you are American, watching this film might be a reminder of just how lucky we are to live here and what can be accomplished when all parties involved pull together as one team.

The Story

The American Apollo space program was one of the greatest engineering feats of the 20th century and marked humankind’s first visit beyond Earth orbit and visited another planet. Here is their story as told by those men whose lives were on the line to make this dream become a reality.

Todd Douglas Miller took an innovative approach to documenting space exploration in this film. Instead of using narration, he instead relied solely on images and sound for storytelling. Utilizing archive footage he created an immersive narrative covering key aspects of each of the Apollo missions; making this an engaging viewing experience suitable for kids as well as adults alike.

This film provides an amazing introduction to the Moon landings and their men who took risks on them, showing just how much work was involved and introducing many behind-the-scenes NASA employees who get equal screen time as astronauts themselves – their worries in Mission Control are just as moving as those seen flying the Saturn V rocket and crawler transporter featured prominently during its opening sequences.

Since Sputnik launched by the Soviets in 1957, Americans became obsessed with beating them to the moon and taking back control of space. President Kennedy challenged NASA to land astronauts on the moon within 10 years; then detailing all the innovative technologies and feats of engineering which made that goal achievable. This movie shows this monumental challenge first hand.

This documentary provides a deep-dive into Apollo 13’s disaster, showing how its explosion could have killed all aboard, yet its survivors persevered, becoming true heroes in the process.

The final act of the movie centers around Apollo 11’s planned lunar landing, an event widely celebrated. But it is equally important to recall all the hardships the crew encountered on their way. Astronauts had difficulty staying awake for extended periods; two even developed head colds during their mission. Yet they managed to complete all tasks successfully and captured famous photos of Earth that helped launch environmental movements worldwide.

The Visuals

Director Todd Douglas Miller expertly weaves new and old footage together so it feels as if you’re experiencing it all over again. From Florida’s blue skies where a rocket blasts off, as the spacecraft separates from its command module and heads for lunar landing, through program alarm in Eagle which almost stops their mission and astronaut communication with Mission Control around the world, you will feel your spine tighten with excitement, heartbreak, and relief – it all happens effortlessly using minimal onscreen text and illustrations with breathtaking clarity throughout its entirety. From launch through lunar landing to safe return journey it does it all with astounding clarity – captivating you every step of the way – leaving nothing hidden along the way!

The movie’s monumental scale can best be appreciated on a large screen, especially in an IMAX theater. Just the opening sequence alone with the Vehicle Assembly Building and Crawler Transporter towering above astronauts in spacesuits is breathtaking; Star Wars could never match it! Apollo provides an authentic time machine which lets viewers experience all its glory without commentary or modern-day editing of original footage.

While other movies in this genre tend to feel too much like history lessons, this one stands out by being more like a film than a documentary. It’s incredibly well-made while remaining engagingly fun to watch.

As an avid space fanatic, I won’t lie: watching various space modules docking and ejecting is worth every penny of admission alone! Even if space doesn’t interest you as much, however, this movie still provides a compelling tale packed with action and drama.

This film’s subtitle, “The Triumph of American Power,” perfectly sums up its US-Canadian production’s approach to this fascinating time in history. The movie recounts three female NASA mathematicians — Marilyn Jackson, Shirley Ann Jackson and Betty Jean Johnson — who broke through gender and racial barriers in STEM fields to calculate John Glenn’s orbital flight trajectory of 1962; their research ultimately ensured Apollo 13 would reach the moon safely after its electronics malfunctioned during launch.

The Soundtrack

Contrasting with films like Apollo 13 or For All Mankind, which often romanticized Apollo missions, this movie offers the full truth of how they felt to actually be there. It shows that astronauts weren’t all smiles when facing danger; many felt anxious, scared or angry instead. Furthermore, the movie shows all of the hard work going into these missions behind-the-scenes; often splitting screen to show all hands at work at once to ensure everything would go according to plan for astronauts and mission managers alike. History buffs and space fans will especially enjoy this film; likely dispelling conspiracy theories regarding NASA faked moon landings while giving new hope about what mankind might accomplishing in terms of achievement versus what’s possible today compared with what’s possible today.

Download it on iTunes, Amazon or Vudu now. Although expansive in scope, this film never becomes tedious or dull. Archival footage paired with moving music gives an intimate perspective into astronaut life and their support network back on Earth – for instance archival footage shows Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin prepping to land on the moon while nervous yet excited – their soundtrack perfectly encapsulating their passion and courage is also spot-on!

Director Miller expertly sifted through 11,000 hours of audio recordings and restored hyper-detailed 70mm footage that had been stored away for almost 50 years, all stored away in boxes. Miller skillfully edited all this material into an engaging documentary which stands as a testament to human ingenuity and perseverance, and serves as an incredible testament to scientific record keeping.

Not ready for a three-hour documentary? No problem; other movies exist that honor Apollo’s legacy as well. Most notably, 2018’s Hidden Figures portrays Mary Jackson, Dorothy Vaughan and Katherine Johnson who worked at NASA prior to John Glenn’s historic orbital flight; it boasts an exceptional cast including Taraji P. Henson, Octavia Spencer and Janelle Monae – just some examples.

This moon landing film defies expectation. Instead of using traditional cinematic techniques – such as an emotional score or smooth-voiced narration – to stir emotion, drama and significance within its viewers, this documentary uses nothing but archive footage as its centerpiece to generate such reactions.

Imagine yourself immersed in Armstrong and Aldrin’s experience aboard the Lunar Module as well as at Mission Control alongside engineers responsible for one of humankind’s greatest feats!

The Story

Few events in modern history are as iconic as the moon landings. Images such as Neil Armstrong planting an American flag on the lunar surface and Buzz Aldrin peering through his helmet have come to symbolize hope for humanity’s future. Yet most people remain unaware of the immense national effort behind such achievements: over one million managers, engineers, scientists, technicians and other professionals worked for years on developing technologies needed to meet President Kennedy’s goal of landing men on the Moon.

This documentary brings the Apollo missions alive through restored archiveal footage and animations, from launch through landing. Every moment is captured as we experience every thrilling step along their path – but at great cost; NASA experienced significant budget reductions once their first three lunar missions had concluded.

The movie also explores the politics surrounding this mission, and explores all of the ways that astronauts and their families were supported by society as a whole. Johansson’s character shows that Apollo astronauts would often call family members from space – something impossible without NASA’s public relations team!

As well as archival footage, the documentary also includes eye-opening interviews with Apollo astronauts themselves. They recount personal sacrifices they had to make in order to complete such a massive undertaking; discussing both physical and psychological strain associated with being the first humans ever to land on a foreign planet.

The final scenes are especially emotional, as we witness astronauts in the Eagle lunar module dissociate from Columbia before taking their first steps onto the lunar surface – something 650 million viewers worldwide witnessed live! After taking these incredible steps on Mars, they then reconnected Eagle to Columbia before heading home again.

At its core, this film provides an intriguing and highly rewatchable account of America’s first steps onto the moon. While other space movies may be overly dramatic or filled with pseudoscience, this documentary offers a respectful yet honest account of events which profoundly altered our world.

The Visuals

When thinking of the moon landing, certain iconic images come to mind: astronauts blasting off into space aboard their lunar module, their descent and landing on its surface and Neil Armstrong taking his first steps on its surface. What may not come immediately to mind are all those behind-the-scenes contributors whose hard work made those moments possible, a subject Apollo: Missions to the Moon wishes to examine in great depth.

Tom Jennings (Challenger Disaster: Lost Tapes and Diana: In Her Own Words), an accomplished filmmaker known for his documentaries like Challenger Disaster and Diana In Her Own Words, employs NASA archival footage to craft an engaging experience that spans all 12 crewed Apollo missions without resorting to narration – creating an unforgettable viewing experience that captures both historical moments as well as human ones from these missions that pushed NASA against Soviet rivalry on its journey toward lunar exploration.

Documenting Apollo 13, this documentary highlights everything from its early days through to Apollo 13’s dramatic moments – particularly those on Apollo 13, where its crew had to overcome enormous odds to return safely home alive. Only minutes after liftoff, for instance, they felt their spacecraft shake and it turned out to be an early warning of things to come; but luckily they managed to reestablish communication with Mission Control and come home safely.

Apollo: Missions to the Moon also highlights all of those involved in making each mission happen, both men and one woman alike. While some key people (like Taraji P. Henson, Octavia Spencer and Janelle Monae from Hidden Figures) don’t get nearly enough screen time in Apollo: Missions to the Moon it serves as a timely reminder of all that goes into sending man into space.

This result is a captivating, impressive, and often emotionally moving account of modern history’s most important space program – one which takes audiences on an extraordinary journey into outer space with breathtaking feats of engineering as its backbone. A must-watch for anyone interested in space exploration and engineering marvels!

The Soundtrack

While other movies about the moon landing focus solely on its astronauts, this documentary takes a different approach by emphasizing all those involved in making it possible. It shows what an immense team effort it was to place a man on the Moon, and just how difficult and risky it was to do so. This movie provides children with an excellent example of teamwork helping achieve goals they may seem unachievable.

Although the film doesn’t feature any stirring music or silky-voiced narration, it does capture the excitement and sense of adventure prevalent during the 1960s. The footage brings back feelings of purpose, urgency, fear, bravery and commitment while also showing the challenges overcome and pride felt by everyone involved in accomplishing such an immense undertaking.

Todd Douglas Miller expertly blends old and new footage to create an HD time machine, transporting viewers back 50 years. From large crowds on beaches waiting for launches to men in hardhats building rockets and spectators watching from cars in a department store parking lot – these images create an impressive glimpse into an America that was both strange and familiar at once.

At its heart, this film is an inspiring testament to what can be accomplished when people work together as one nation. Not only is it a reminder of all we’ve achieved so far with science and technology, but also highlights all that lies ahead for mankind. Be sure to see it on the big screen if possible or rent or purchase digitally if possible!

The End

In the 1960s, humanity made many strides forward – perhaps none greater than our first step onto the Moon 50 years ago on July 20. That momentous achievement marked years of hard work from numerous people designing technologies to meet one of humanity’s most difficult goals.

This documentary, which premiered at Sundance Film Festival in January 2019, serves as an incredible reminder of that time and the incredible accomplishments achieved by NASA’s Apollo program. Employing TV footage, radio broadcasts, home movies, and never-before-heard Mission Control audio files from that era to tell its tale – Project Apollo comprised 12 manned missions with one ultimate goal in mind – but ultimately failed due to technical complications.

Todd Douglas Miller’s film feels like an immersive high-definition time machine, taking viewers back to the Apollo missions with each remastering of old and new footage making viewers feel as if they are taking part in suiting up with astronauts, viewing views from LM, watching Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin take those iconic first steps onto lunar surface. Color, hairstyles, 5-cent coffee prices and promotional RCA paper caps come alive on screen!

The film also explores some of the conspiracy theories surrounding Apollo missions, such as claims that everything was an elaborate hoax. Director Kevin Akerman showed great care in getting NASA involved with training actors portraying astronauts and flight controllers; also getting permission to use reduced-gravity aircrafts for filming scenes in space; conveying excitement, adventure, purpose urgency fear that were all present during that era of history is impressive.

Though most Apollo astronauts returned safely, some met unfortunate ends. In this made-for-TV movie, four astronauts are killed through various means ranging from mysterious illness to spaceship crashes; unfortunately, however, the ending of this movie leaves something to be desired after such a compelling build-up but nonetheless provides an interesting look into humanity’s first steps on the Moon.

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