Film FestivalsMovie ReviewsSXSW 2019: Apollo 11 Review

dannythemoviemanMarch 8, 2019

This will be one of many reviews during this year’s SXSW Film Festival, to keep up with our latest coverage, click here.

Synopsis: From director Todd Douglas Miller (Dinosaur 13) comes a cinematic event fifty years in the making. Crafted from a newly discovered trove of 65mm footage, and more than 11,000 hours of uncatalogued audio recordings, Apollo 11 takes us straight to the heart of NASA’s most celebrated mission — the one that first put men on the moon, and forever made Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin into household names. Immersed in the perspectives of the astronauts, the team in Mission Control, and the millions of spectators on the ground, we vividly experience those momentous days and hours in 1969 when humankind took a giant leap into the future. (Elevation Pictures)

Starring: Buzz Aldrin, Neil Armstrong, and Michael Collins

Director: Todd Douglas Miller

Rating: G (Canada/United States)

Running Time: 93mins


This is something that seems to be said a lot these days, but with this film, it’s more true than ever – Apollo 11 is like nothing you’ve ever seen. Apollo 11 is a brilliant documentary, and it’s mainly for how different it is. One of the most impressive parts of this film is the structure, and how it tries to stray away from traditional documentary fare. Director Todd Douglas Miller knows that you know about this mission, and doesn’t use talking heads or narration to explain anything to you – rather just letting you observe it.

This structure is brilliant, and allows us to put ourselves into the perspectives of the people who camped out to watch the launch occur – and it’s breathtaking. It immerses you like no similar film can, and shows it’s subject matter from a perspective that hasn’t exactly been explored in film before.

One of the main reasons that this works so well really is how stunning the footage is. At parts, this treasure trove of never-before-seen film seems shockingly recent, almost to the point where it seems like this was a narrative feature shot last year.

Besides some issues with pacing, some incomprehensible audio and being a little bit too dismissive of exposition, Apollo 11 is a revelation. You’ve never seen anything like it, and you bet you got to see it on the biggest screen possible. A new definition of immersion.

Score: 8/10

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