I’m an 80’s baby and 90’s kid, so the space race and JFK’s mission statement for NASA and us as a country was something I only read about in text books. Honestly it didn’t have a lot of weight on me. Getting to the moon seems like something that was so matter of fact. All the technology I grew up with and had at my fingertips, why wouldn’t we be on the moon? JFK’s mission statement is a challenge he proposed to the country. What did that mean? What did that mean not only for the space program but for Americans? What did it look like and sound like when we would get to the moon? We train, we fly into space, we land on the moon, and we must get back home. As an adult I attached more to getting to the moon and never considered the challenge and danger of getting back.
This documentary transports you as if you’re in Houston with Mission Control. A fly on the wall experience to one of the most monumental moments in American history. I’ve never experienced a documentary as cinematic. Neil, Buzz, and Michael aren’t actors, but their genuine selves and are elevating many aspects of this film. They’re never disrupting the direction but accentuating all the images we see on screen. They are not the major focus of the film but seeing how human these men are participating in an event that would require something literally out of this world is memorizing. They are charming and vibrant and magnetic that when on screen you’re instantly pulled in. Even more the collaborative effort of the mission is celebrated so much in this film it helps you respect all the men and women that gave their livelihood to making a trip to the moon and back a success. You will feel the same pride as an American as the folks who waited hours outside in the sun leading up to the countdown and launch in Cape Canaveral, FL.
There’s an incredible restoration and editing of all these images that are pulled from many different sources. How are these images restored? The editing is out of this world. Think of going through old box tapes growing up and trying to piece together 90 minutes of a coherent seamless story that all looks like it was shot in real time. Dissecting and piecing these amazing exterior shots and footage of the men in the control room looks so natural because it was, but still felt so produced as if it was straight out of a 2019 big budget studio production.
The score complimented every beat of this film where even though you know what happened in the end, the score builds so much tension I felt the weight of the stakes in every minute. The sci-fi tones and grandeur of the drums transported me back to how I felt in that intense docking sequence in Christopher Nolan’s “Interstellar.”
Director, Todd Douglas Miller and DP Adam Holender do a phenomenal job at constructing powerful shots that flow like it was scripted. Being able to craft a production to this caliber is sure to garner Best Editing nods at the Academy Awards and the front runner for Best Documentary. I appreciate the mission to the moon more because of this film and hope this documentary becomes essential to the in classroom American Educational experience.
KOLBYTOLDME RATING- 9/10
Director: Todd Douglas Miller
Editor: Todd Douglas Miller
Cinematography: Adam Holender
Run Time: 93 mins