It’s exclusively in IMAX this week, and I highly recommend it. Largely made from newly discovered and restored 70mm footage shot at the time, no narration, all original contemporary footage and audio. Die hard space junkies will be astounded by how much of this material you have never seen or heard before, and the pristine crispness of the 70mm shots.
It is beautifully edited for a real you-are-there feel. As we were leaving, my wife said that even though she knew how it came out, there were moments that really made her nervous.
The theatrical version in theaters now is 93 minutes. Museum IMAX theaters will start showing a 45-minute version called Apollo 11: First Steps in May. For my fellow space nerds, I strongly recommend seeing the full-length version, obviously, and seeing it in IMAX this week. I don’t know if it will have a run in conventional theaters after that, but it will be dropped from most multiplex IMAX theaters this Friday in favor of Captain Marvel. So see it in your local multiplex IMAX by Thursday, March 7.
Another vote to see it! I saw it Thursday night on the largest IMAX screen in the country and it was so gorgeous! Amazing to see all this 70mm footage that looks pristine. The director of the film was there and spoke for about 30 mins after the film about how all the footage was discovered and restored.
Went out and saw it today. An amazing documentation of history. I got a little misty-eyed when it lifted off. I really had the sense of what went into this when they showed them working on a faulty valve while the astronauts were boarding. A lot of cool information in the movie like Armstrong’s heart rate on descent.
I expected all the old cars but was surprised to see a Sikorsky Chicasawhelicopter flying. For those unfamiliar with it it had a radial engine in the nose and the pilot sat above and behind it. It was retired in 1969 so this was probably one of the last images of it flying.
I had forgotten how little fuel they had left when landing on the moon. the countdown timer was a nice touch.
My only complaint was the use of lenses. I’m not a cinematographer but they used something like a portrait lens with little field of focus. You saw whoever the camera was aimed at in focus and everything else was fuzzy. Must have been a technical reason for it because they were recording history and not making any kind of artistic statement.
Regarding the depth of field: the problem stems from the film used. Film just wasn’t fast back in 1969, so the diaphragm had to be wide open to let in enough light, which kneecapped the depth of field.
I don’t recall this being particularly noticeable. Are you referring to the suiting up scenes in the beginning? If so, as The Vorlon says, shooting indoors would almost certainly have required a max aperture exposure. But I didn’t find it objectionable in any way, and since they were mostly focusing on closeups of the guys’ faces, it was appropriate.
Saw it yesterday (Pacific Science Center in Seattle). Agree that it has to be experienced in IMAX, although when the bird lifted off I thought I was going to lose all my fillings.
I didn’t expect the lack of added description, commentary &c to be have such an impact but (for me at least) it made the events much more “real” and evoked an emotional response that I hadn’t anticipated. By the end I felt like I’d stumbled into Mr Peabody’s WayBack machine.
Yes, I felt exactly the same thing. I loved seeing the clothing and hairstyles of the people waiting for the launch. Did you notice Johnny Carson and the quick glimpses of Spiro Agnew and President Johnson?
Unfortunately, it’s only showing in 120 IMAX theaters this week. I don’t know how widely (if at all) the full theatrical version will play on conventional multiplex screens. You may be able to see the shorter “museum” version either at Ontario Place or the Ontario Science Center starting in May.
Oops, didn’t check your location and made an assumption based on your user name. Sorry. (Of course, I *have *driven 300 miles for a movie on more than one occasion. But it’s my job.)
Perhaps the Canadian Museum of History, across the river, then.
Also, BoxOfficeMojo.com is saying the film opens “everywhere” after the IMAX run ends (in most multiplexes) on Thursday. So you should have a chance to see the full-length one somewhere in your area, even if it’s not IMAX.
the indoor scenes were of individual people so I agree it seemed appropriate. The outdoor scenes would have been better served with wider focal range. I’m guessing they went with 65mm for sharper images but the budget for lenses wasn’t there. when they panned the crowd from a helicopter it was a running blur.
I’m thinking Hollywood would have coughed up some freebees if someone asked.
Still, it was exciting to relive my childhood. I will definitely buy a blu ray of it and I may do something I rarely do and see it again.
It would be really cool to see other space programs on the big screen. I just saw a bit of video from the first British jet flight. They went out of their way NOT to film it because of the war so we missed out on some serious history.
Ah, yes. Now I remember. You’re right about the blurring in some of the helicopter shots; it happened in a couple of long tracking shot inside Mission Control in Florida, too. But it wasn’t cheap lenses: I’m sure they had all the money they wanted. They were shooting 70mm, FFS!
The blurring was an artifact of the 24 fps frame rate while moving the camera quickly and perpendicular to the direction you’re shooting. Hollywood equipment wouldn’t have helped, but a more experienced Hollywood cinematographer might have told them that was going to happen, and advised them to out the camera on the nose of the chopper, or at least shoot out the front window. But those options would probably have been problematic, too.
At 24 fps, objects moving quickly across the frame, or moving the camera quickly, inevitably causes serious motion blur, and the bigger you project the image, the worse it looks. Experienced DPs know this can be reduced by pointing the camera in the direction you’re moving. But NASA’s photographers may have never, or only rarely, seen their 70mm footage projected on a large screen; when you look at your film on a small Moviola (analog editing screen) you can’t see how bad moves like that look.
It’s too bad, but a small flaw in an otherwise great movie, and I don’t fault the 2019 filmmakers for including those shots.
I actually wondered while watching a couple of those shots whether the current filmmakers could have (or should have) tried to digitally fix them. My conclusion was no, not even if they could have. (I’m not sure whether there’s tech that could do it.)