2019 | Documentary | 93 minutes | In English
Producer Todd Douglas Miller and his production team, with the assistance of NASA and the National Archives and Records Administration, discovered unreleased 70mm footage of the launch and recovery of Apollo II. It was the first spaceflight that enabled man to walk on the moon. The footage used in this documentary is not only a revelation, but it’s also beautifully restored. There are scenes of the three astronauts suiting up for the moon shot; later in orbit, they are joking with flight control personnel; there’s the walk on the moon; and finally, the breath-stopping re-entry to earth. It’s both very informative and inspiring.
Why Stream This Film?
- Rotten Tomatoes Score (Critics Consensus): 99%
- Metacritic Score: 88
- Sundance Film Festival: Winner, Special Jury Award for Editing; Nominated, U.S. Documentary Grand Jury Prize
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Sometimes gush is the only appropriate response and the amazingness never gets any less amazing. The 50-year anniversary of the Apollo II moon launch has now been marked by this fascinating documentary. It presents newly discovered color footage of the build-up with the buzzcut wholesomeness of the astronauts’ good-naturedly trustful faces in closeup, the electrifying launch, the touchdown and the return to earth.
The footage was not cropped, as is the case with so many similar documentaries, and the films were restored and scanned at the highest resolution possible. The result is the highest-quality digital collection of Apollo II footage available. The startling crispness of the imagery makes the experience of watching this film almost like seeing the mission—from pre-liftoff to post-recovery, from the launch control center at Cape Canaveral to the mission control room in Houston—for the first time. The familiar becomes newly minted.
The documentary, APOLLO II, directed by Todd Douglas Miller, is entirely awe-inspiring. Although we know how the mission turns out, the movie generates and maintains suspense. And it rekindles a crazy wonder at, among other things, what one can do practically with trigonometry.
APOLLO II isn’t like other documentaries about the first moon mission. In fact, it isn’t like most other movies, period. It’s magnificent and unique, an adrenalin shot of wonder and skill.
Strictly speaking, very few things really inspire a sense of slack-jawed wonder—even fewer that are 50 years old. But the NASA mission at the heart of the must-see documentary APOLLO II reminds you what it feels to be truly awestruck.
Todd Douglas Miller’s documentary about the first moon landing is dead brilliant. Fifty years in the making, the definitive documentary of the Apollo II mission has landed.
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