Problematic, but has value from some angles
Farffleblex Plaffington | Parnybarnel, Mississippi | 11/07/2007
(2 out of 5 stars)
"The first thing to note about this documentary, which was produced with the participation of NASA, is that the title is very misleading. Not much of this film is about the Apollo 11 mission. The title is just there for marketing purposes--Apollo 11 is the famous moon-landing mission, so that will help sales. Unfortunately, it basically amounts to a bait-and-switch tactic. I can especially understand people being upset who might buy this at a NASA or science museum gift shop, say, as they usually outrageously overcharge for videos.
Even more unfortunately, this isn't a horrible film for what it is--a 90-minute history of rocketry, going all the way back to 9th Century China, briefly moving to an extended section on rocketry developments in modern warfare, then tracing the earliest attempts to put rockets in orbit, the space race, and ending with the Apollo 11 mission.
As an educational tool, Apollo 11: The Eagle has Landed, deserves a slightly higher rating. It's packed full of historical information, and even as a lifelong astronomy and space sciences buff, I learned a couple things (or at least was reminded of things that I've long forgotten). On the other hand, as has been pointed out elsewhere, there are a couple factual errors in the script . . . but no documentary (or non-fiction in general) should be taken as gospel.
However, it's weaker as a documentary, especially when considered aesthetically. As much as I love Tom Baker as an actor--he's England's answer to William Shatner, after all--he's not a very exciting narrator here. Too much of the beginning is essentially a slide show, and too many images seem a bit blurry and overexposed. The historical space program footage has not been spiffed up, so it tends to look a bit washed-out. And as a documentary covering such a wide swathe of important history, 90 minutes just can't do the material justice--you'd need a 10-part series to do a really good job."
Excellent, but not primarily about Apollo 11
William Haugen | Dallas, TX United States | 07/17/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Good to excellent 90 minute history of man looking and venturing into space up to and including most of the flight of Apollo 11. However only the final 20 minutes of this documentary is devoted to Apollo 11 and the return to earth portion of the Apollo 11 mission is not covered. The rest is history of space including excellent history of Robert Goddard, Wernher von Braun, President Kennedy's Go to the Moon Speech and highlights of the Mercury, Gemini and Apollo programs and much more. This DVD also contains a Special Feature talk titled "Remembering Apollo 11" by Michael Collins who was the Command Module pilot for the Apollo 11 mission. Did get the sense from this Apollo 11 DVD that Wernher von Braun more than any other person was responsible for man getting to the moon and really lighting the fire of the world's imagination that this dream could become a reality. The Apollo 11 name does not really fit the majority of the material in the DVD. To place yourself into the world of 1969 and get the image of the mission people living on earth at that time had would recommend as a supplement or alternative the DVDs "Nova To The Moon" which has as much coverage about Apollo 11 as this DVD does and or "Above and Beyond" which is a 10 hour series on space that has two episodes (16 & 19, about 45 minutes total) devoted to Apollo 11 that really capture much more of the Apollo 11 mission and what was going on in the world at the time."