Documentary Movie Review: Apollo 11 (2019) #atozchallenge

Note: I wasn’t planning on doing documentaries again for this year’s A to Z Challenge, but since I suddenly found myself with more free time at home, I decided why not.  Unlike my main A to Z posts, which were scheduled ahead of time, I’ll be doing these as I go along with the chance I might miss some along away.  Nevertheless, enjoy your bonus A to Z content.

This is my entry for “A” in the Blogging A to Z Challenge. Throughout April I will be watching and reviewing a documentary movie from A to Z. Some other “A” documentaries I’ve reviewed are Ai Weiwei: Never SorryAfrica: The SerengetiAmerican Experience: Blackout,  American Experience: Into the Amazon,, American Experience: Walt Disney and Amy.

TitleApollo 11
Release Date: March 1, 2019
Director: Todd Douglas Miller
Production Company: CNN Films | Statement Pictures

In this big-budget, science-fiction adventure, three men leave their planet and travel to another world for the first time, with thousands of people supporting them back home.  And it’s all real.

This movie is built entirely with original footage from the July 1969 Apollo 11 mission to Mars, including previously unreleased 70 mm footage that is awe-inspiring.  There is no narration or retrospective interviews, just descriptions from the contemporary dialogue of the astronauts, NASA employees, and news media.  Simple animations appear on the screen before all of the Apollo 11 mission’s major maneuvers, and countdown clocks build up the tension.  All of this is scored to an incredible soundtrack of electronic music using only instruments that were available in 1969.

As a space exploration buff, I may be biased, but this is one of the most exciting, beautiful, and well-edited documentaries I’ve ever seen. I hope at some point I can see it again on a big screen and be fully-immersed in this spectacular film.

Rating: *****

Podcasts of the Week Ending July 27

BackStory :: Moon, Man, and Myths

The History Guys commemorate the 50th anniversary of the first moon landing with an interview with flight director Gene Kranz, among other things.

Code Switch :: Chicago’s Red Summer

Another anniversary, of a grim sort, of the race riots 100 years ago in Chicago and other American cities that targeted African American soldiers returning from the World War among others.

Fresh Air :: 50th Anniversary of the Moon Landing

This podcast includes interviews with astronauts Michael Collins and Alan Shepherd as well as test pilot Chuck Yeager.

Hub History  :: The Cessna Strafer

A bizarre incident in 1989 when a man who’d just murdered his wife took to the air in a small airplane and fired an assault rifle at people on the ground in Boston.  This seems like a very serious crime, and yet I only learned about it a few years ago, even though I was alive and living in an adjacent state at the time.

99% Invisible :: Invisible Women

An interview with Caroline Criado Perez, author of Invisible Women: Data Bias in a World Designed for Men, on how women are ignored in the design of just about everything, and the dangerous effects of this bias.

On the Media :: What, Me Worry?

Mad Magazine, the satire magazine enjoyed by decades of children going back to the 1950s, is going out of print.  Journalist Jeet Heer talks about the magazines importance and influence.

Running tally of 2019 Podcast of the Week appearances: