The 1969 Moon Mission has already been seen in many phases, but never with the dazzling and extraordinary splendor of Todd Douglas Miller's extraordinary "Apollo 11", a documentary taken from archival footage. and audio recordings that Details to the minute, find the propulsive force of the most glorious feat of man, giving a new resonance to these beautiful and bearish head control words of the mission: "We left".
"Apollo 11" was compiled in part from a 70mm film that had been forgotten and which includes footage of the launch, Cape Canaveral crowds observing outside JC Penny and along the balconies of the motel, as well as that astronauts recovery. It does not contain any talking heads or narrations, but only the audio of some 11,000 hours of NASA audio recordings and, sometimes, the seriousness of Walter Cronkite's programs.
The clarity of the large and restored images is surprising. Much of the imagery of landing on the moon has now become an iconography, but here the event is brought back to life. Miller is about to launch as the huge platform is moved by giant tracks to the launch site. It could be a shot of "Star Wars" or many scientific fictions born from the lunar mission. We'll see Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins in costume before putting on their helmets, and it's as if we've never seen their face – confident, with an almost mischievous glow – so well.
"Apollo 11" might not tell you that you do not already know about the moon landing. But it will allow you to feel it and see it again. Miller has condensed this eight-day expedition into an exciting adventure, from launch to return, which puts you in the shuttle with the astronauts and in the ear of Mission Control. This is the splendor of Apollo 11, distilled to its essence still breathtaking.
Much of the emphasis is on the magnitude of the Moon's push against the two astronauts who executed John F. Kennedy's engagement in 1962. Kennedy's words ("We choose to go to the Moon during this decade and do the other things not because they are easy, but because they are hard ") weigh on the film with a kind of fervor and ambition that today seems downright extravagant -earthly. Later, while the spacecraft is in full flight towards the Moon, Chappaquiddick and Ted Kennedy will be informed on the televisions of NASA, while the spectators, pulled to the ground, will remain momentarily gawk.
But thousands of people who contributed to the mission testify to the magnitude of the effort. Their faces are visible in montages and their voices are heard again and again on NASA radio: a multitude that at every turning point confirms that their department is really "apart".
We have of course already gone to the moon at the cinema. More recently, there was the film "First Man" rigorous, although too dark Damien Chazelle, which – despite its many qualities – seems even more discreet compared to "Apollo 11". This 1989 documentary by Al Reinert, more brilliant and more similar, is more remarkable. "For All Mankind", which also used NASA's archive footage and a good score (Brian Eno's) to recreate Apollo Lunar Missions.
But in 2019, as we write obituaries for the late Mars Rover ("He was 15 years old"), "Apollo 11" looks even more like another era and another world. What was this beautiful sunny American dream and where did it go?
"Apollo 11", a film released by Neon and CNN Films, is rated G by the Motion Picture Association of America. Duration: 93 minutes. Three and a half stars out of four.
Follow AP writer Jake Coyle on Twitter at: http://twitter.com/jakecoyleAP