You’ve seen shots of it a thousand times in movies and in popular culture. Of a big pointy rocket blasting off with chunks of white, frozen material falling off in slow-motion and a dude in a big puffy suit, jumping off a ladder and commenting how important that small hop was. Especially when compared to any and all of the other lame hops mankind have made before. But what about all the moments before, between and after those two historic moments. Apollo 11.
No tedious narration or interviews, we just relive the spectacle as it happened and from every angle. Which is totally doable as it seems every lens in the country was pointed NASA’s way. All the moments you want and none of the ones you don’t is one of Apollo 11’s greatest achievements. What’s important, what’s meaningful to the majority of the potential audience and history enthusiast as well. I salute the balance achieved sir!
It has the feeling of someone capturing it for the first time not really knowing how important the occasion was gonna turn out to be. All those great doco moments before and after the ‘action and cut’, were scored out of the raw footage. All the moments of not playing to a script or a camera. We know when the tension soars as we see it in the faces of those that were there and invested.
Finding all that wonderful, disregarded and relegated footage that really shine a light on the times and the people. Showing us just how much this endeavor meant for not just the general public but to the thousands who gave so much of themselves. To make it happen, make it work.
Thousands. A few of the shots that really stayed with me are the ones I’ve never seen before. Really long dolly shots of the camera passing banks and banks and banks of old computer and machine terminals that had dozens and dozens of focused and dedicated workers toiling over them. It was inspiring to me to see just so many people, an unbelievable amount. Just all supremely focused on one goal, and the one hundred thousand other moments before and after that magnificent hop.
The next achievement for Apollo 11 that’s worth focusing on is the audio. The score was brilliant. Every time it kicked in, I was there. I wasn’t taken but I gave myself willingly to each moment it enhanced. I could only complain that it just made me want more of those moments but maybe that means they got that just right too.
But like them finding the right shots they brought together the vast amounts of communication that occurred before during and after the mission. They used the best and scratchiest and glued the whole production together with it. Just enough to be informative and entertaining for me.
It’s a big screen and big speaker movie. Apollo 11 will leave a shot or two with you to chew on for a week or two. Unlike maybe the more proper grander styled videos of the past that made you want to be an astronaut this time you just want to be part of the team. Where once a program was designed to tell Russians to suck it, it has been repackaged into a very positive cinema piece. Telling us all of what we can achieve. Together.
– Nick Holder