Apollo 11: the title says it all: Todd Douglas Miller’s documentary barely, if ever, has anything to say that falls outside the nuts and bolts of the spaceflight mission itself. This laser-tight focus allows the film to be very detailed as it goes through all the phases of the mission. It is always very clear what is happening, why, and what needs to follow; the immediacy is so palpable that the outcome, known to all, gets forgotten. In that sense, the monumental editing job done by Miller himself is crucial; the film is, in a word, thrilling (and much of that comes from composer Matt Morton’s musical score) and the storyline, engaging. It helps that the archival footage is incredibly in good shape (fruit, of course, of lots of restoration and conservation work) and good-looking, for the most part; they also have an incredible level of access to everything that is happening (enhanced by the archival sound), pretty much in all locations, and that gives an unequaled sense of intimacy to everything that is going on.
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