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film review

Apollo 11 offers a in-depth look at the famed moon mission using recently unearthed 65 mm footage.CNN Films

  • Title Apollo 11
  • Directed by Todd Douglas Miller
  • Starring Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin, Michael Collins, Walter Cronkite
  • Classification G
  • 93 minutes


4 out of 4 stars

When the Apollo 11 lunar module Eagle reached its target on July 20, 1969, Neil Armstrong’s heart was racing at 156 beats per minute. Those watching the enrapturing Apollo 11 won’t find Armstrong’s accelerated pulse surprising. Todd Douglas Miller’s documentary about the first moon landing is dead brilliant, sure to enrage conspiracy theorists while thrilling most everyone else.

With barely any narration or context, the in-the-moment Apollo 11 uses recently unearthed 65-mm footage and more than 11,000 hours of uncatalogued NASA communication to dramatically tell the story of a mission outlandishly complex but smoothly accomplished. Newsman nonpareil Walter Cronkite sets the stage with language that is unexcitedly momentous. The three astronauts (Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins) make their way to the rocket ship like rock stars. We have liftoff – and do we ever, thanks to Matt Morton’s pulsating drum-and-synthesizer score.

Armstrong makes his giant leap for mankind and President Richard Nixon places an incredibly-long-distance phone call thanking the astronauts for making the heavens “part of man’s world.” Fifty years in the making, the definitive documentary of the Apollo 11 mission has landed.

Apollo 11 opens March 1 in select Imax theatres and March 8 across Canada.