Apollo 11

Apollo 11

2019, G, 93 min. Directed by Todd Douglas Miller.

REVIEWED By Marjorie Baumgarten, Fri., March 15, 2019

It will be 50 years ago this summer that Americans first walked on the moon. Although the event has been a subject dear to filmmakers since Georges Méliès made “A Trip to the Moon” in 1902, it’s safe to say that audiences haven’t seen a film like Apollo 11 until now. This feature-length documentary takes us inside the event with footage that’s never before been seen or heard. It’s a celebratory movie designed to rekindle awe and admiration for the accomplishments of the NASA astronauts and ground scientists, as well as a reminder of the endless realms of possibility that can be achievable when a country and its politicians work in unison toward a shared goal.

Director Todd Douglas Miller (Dinosaur 13) assembled Apollo 11 from a trove of newly discovered 65mm footage and 11,000 hours of uncatalogued audio recordings. Painstakingly, the audio was matched up with the soundless footage of the scientists monitoring their computer stations in the Mission Control Center. This adds to the sense of the accomplishment being the result of a community’s efforts rather than the just the heroic actions of three brave astronauts: Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin, and Michael Collins. NASA cinematographers filmed everything, not only the Mission Control scientists (all men, most of whom wear short-sleeved, white, button-down shirts and ties appropriate for Houston in mid-July), but also the mechanical workers prepping things on the launchpad platforms and catwalks. Also filmed were the crowds that assembled on the nearby beaches and parking lots, providing not only a sense of late-Sixties style and fashion but also the feeling of a populace unified in fear and pride around this one event (even though once in a while on a radio or TV we hear progress reports from the Vietnam battlefield and news of Ted Kennedy’s contemporaneous crash at Chappaquiddick).

Apollo 11 is free of extraneous narration, which helps lend it a present-tense feel. We hear snatches of John F. Kennedy’s 1961 inaugural speech, which issued the challenge to land on the moon before the end of the decade, as well as avuncular Walter Cronkite setting up the mission’s objectives. The electronic music by Matt Morton can be overwhelming at times in its attempt to heighten tension. Also, the restored communications between land and sky, despite their historic value, can often resemble the scratchy sound of sitting too long at a drive-through squawkbox. No mention is made in the film of the U.S./Russian space race that drove the less lofty goals of the mission. Instead, Apollo 11 leaves us to ponder those words left behind on the moon with the American flag: “We came in peace for all mankind.” Come to think of it, that’s not such a bad reminder as we face the imminent possibility of a military-based Space Force.

Showtimes

Tue., March 19

4:10, 8:10, 11:40
AFA 9:45am, 1:15

Wed., March 20

9:45am, 1:15, 4:10, 8:10, 11:40

Thu., March 21

9:50am, 12:50, 3:25, 6:15, 9:15

Tue., March 19

11:05am, 12:05, 1:40, 2:40, 4:15, 5:15, 6:50, 7:50, 9:00, 10:25

Wed., March 20

11:15am, 12:10, 1:50, 2:45, 4:25, 5:20, 7:00, 7:55, 9:35, 10:30

Fri., March 22

12:00, 2:35, 5:10, 7:30, 10:50

Sat., March 23

12:45

Sun., March 24

11:15am, 1:50, 4:25, 6:30, 9:50

Mon., March 25

1:50, 4:25, 6:45, 10:20

Alamo Drafthouse Village

2700 W. Anderson #701, 512/861-7030, www.drafthouse.com/austin/theater/village

Tuesday matinee Baby Day shows (first show of the day) are intended for parents and their children younger than 6. Showtimes at this venue are subject to frequent change. Please confirm daily times by phone or website.

Tue., March 19

3:45, 6:30, 9:10
AFA 1:00

Wed., March 20

1:10, 3:45, 6:30, 9:10

Fri., March 22

12:15, 2:15, 5:00, 7:45, 10:30

Sat., March 23

9:00am, 12:05, 2:40, 5:15, 8:00, 10:40

Sun., March 24

10:50am, 1:30, 4:05, 6:50, 10:45

Mon., March 25

3:45, 6:00, 10:00

Arbor Cinema @ Great Hills

9828 Great Hills Trail, 512/231-9742

Discounts daily before 6pm.

Tue., March 19

CC 12:50, 3:50, 7:10, 9:45

Wed., March 20

CC 12:50, 3:50, 7:10, 9:45

Thu., March 21

CC 12:50, 3:50, 7:10, 9:45

Barton Creek Square (AMC)

2901 South Capital of Texas Hwy, 512/306-1991, www.amctheatres.com

Matinee discounts available before 4pm daily. Bring Your Baby matinees the first Tuesday of every month.

Tue., March 19

CC 11:00am, 1:40, 4:20, 9:50
CC/DVS 7:10

Wed., March 20

CC/DVS 11:00am, 1:40, 4:20, 7:10

Tue., March 19

digital 10:35am, 1:10, 3:45, 6:30, 9:10

Wed., March 20

digital 10:35am, 1:10, 3:45, 6:30, 9:10

City Lights Theatre

420 Wolf Ranch Parkway, Georgetown, 512/868-9922

Tue., March 19

1:20, 4:20, 7:20, 9:50

Wed., March 20

1:20, 4:20, 7:20, 9:50

Fri., March 22

10:40am, 1:40, 4:40, 7:35, 10:05

Sat., March 23

10:40am, 1:40, 4:40, 7:35, 10:05

Sun., March 24

10:40am, 1:40, 4:40, 7:35, 10:05

Mon., March 25

10:40am, 1:40, 4:40, 7:35, 10:05

Sky Cinemas

13201 US-290, 512/457-0700, www.skycinemas.com

Tue., March 19

12:10, 1:30, 3:45, 6:00, 8:20

Wed., March 20

12:10, 1:30, 3:45, 6:00, 8:20

Thu., March 21

12:10, 1:30, 3:45, 6:00, 8:20

Fri., March 22

11:00am, 1:15, 4:10, 6:00, 9:40

Sat., March 23

11:00am, 1:15, 4:10, 6:00, 9:40

Sun., March 24

11:00am, 1:15, 4:10, 6:00, 9:40

Mon., March 25

12:00, 1:05, 4:10, 6:00, 9:10

Violet Crown Cinema

434 W. Second, 512/495-9600, www.violetcrowncinema.com

Four-hour parking validation in attached garage with ticket purchase. Reserved seating; bar and cafe on-site.

Tue., March 19

11:10am, 1:15, 4:30, 6:35, 8:00

Wed., March 20

11:10am, 1:15, 4:30, 6:35, 8:00

Thu., March 21

11:10am, 1:15, 4:30, 6:35

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READ MORE
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KEYWORDS FOR THIS FILM

Apollo 11, Todd Douglas Miller

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