The educational value of the piece is just as vivid and important as the historical impact
50-Years after the initial moon landing of Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin, and Mike Collins, Todd Douglas Miller has pieced together footage from almost every angle of the event, Earth-based or not, creating an effortless view of the sheer impact the Apollo 11 mission had on America and the entire world. Showcasing in great detail, the film looks to display the effort placed into the mission, painting the event as momentous as it possibly could be.
With simple graphics and well placed explanations, the event rarely seems out of the depth of an average viewer, feeling far more like a celebration than an in-focus documentary, however much it actually looks to teach. The educational value of the piece is just as vivid and important as the historical impact, and the celebratory style. Miller has balanced the entire film particularly well.
Yet its impact in the teaching department almost pales in comparison to the brilliance of the picture. Displaying striking colours and some expert cinematography, despite its manifestation as a documentary, Apollo 11 holds a particularly nostalgic feel with an acute sense for looking great. It’s clear that the audio and video available to Miller and his team were vast and previously unexplored, but translating that into a coherent 90 minute feature is potentially a more difficult task than working with extensively limited features. A keen editing eye has allowed Apollo 11 to flourish where it could easily have ended up languishing.
Partnering particularly well with Damien Chazelle’s First Man, a biopic of astronaut Neil Armstrong, Apollo 11 is a beautifully cut documentary with marvellous understanding of the scale of the mission, and how important it was to the world at the time. Filled with information and stats, the film never feels overwhelming, and Miller has proved that documentaries don’t need to feel dated, even if they are based solely from archived footage and audio.
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