The box office failure of Neil Armstrong's "First Man" biopic last year would make you think the audience is above the moon. Excuse me: it's done with the moon.
But there is a new documentary, "Apollo 11", which should be seen by anyone who has ever owned a telescope or claimed that the pot was an astronaut helmet. It tells the story of the 1969 moon landing using ancient images restored dramatically, much of which has never been seen before. The photo is sometimes so crisp and clean – strands of hair, sandwich wraps on the mission control desk – that it could have been shot last week.
Taken from a variety of sources, the film was carefully assembled by director Todd Douglas Miller to create an incredibly rich history of the historic mission, ranging from boarding the spaceship to the "Welcome" parade Home "on Michigan Avenue of Chicago.
Amazing images come from cameras connected to the lunar vehicle, offering new benefits of iconic events, while other previously unmarshed moments were filmed by professional cameramen.
Some of these scenes, particularly those of Mission Control in Houston and the launch pad, are filmed with surprising creativity and art. These seem cinematographic, suggesting that cameramen have understood that they did more than document the news of the day: they ensured their place in the cultural firmament.
I guess "first person" opponents will by far prefer a film that does not go into the uneven personal lives of Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins. There are bursts of humor, especially at Aldrin, and a scene played by the song of Mother Stewart, singer-songwriter, John Stewart, in 1969, is moving and inspired.
But "Apollo 11" is above all a story of technology and humanity. This is a country that needed a figurative elevator and got it with a literal name.