Apollo 11 | Chicago Reader

Apollo 11

Edited like a thriller—complete with music that practically bites your nails for you—this documentary about the Apollo 11 spaceflight is more potent as a record of American naiveté than as an enlightening spectacle. Culling from archival footage shot on 16 mm, 35 mm, and even 65 mm (some of it never before seen), director Todd Douglas Miller takes a direct-cinema approach, relying only on audio clips from the past to annotate the historic occasion. The film's initial uncanniness, a result of seeing nearly 50-year-old footage presented with little context, is quickly sacrificed for a rote documentary structure, complete with informational diagrams. Furthermore, the problematic realities of the era—including the conspicuous lack of women or people of color involved in the process, among other issues—distract from one’s sense of marvel. As a testament to the wonders of science and space, it's extraordinary; as a testament to the triumph of cinema and mankind, it's more a small step than a giant leap.

Credits

Director:

  • Todd Douglas Miller

Producers:

  • Amy Entelis
  • Courtney Sexton
  • Evan Krauss
  • Josh Braun
  • Thomas Peterson
  • Todd Douglas Miller
  • Tom Quinn

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