The Drama of Apollo 11

Dec. 31, 1969
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The 40th anniversary of the first manned moon landing brought many recollections and documentaries of an adventure that held the world spellbound. The History Channel also aired “Moonshot,” a “fact-based drama” drawn from interviews with participants and NASA documents. Buzz Aldrin, who stepped onto the lunar surface shortly after Neil Armstrong, assures us at the onset that this is “pretty much” the way it was.

A decently shot and acted made-for-TV movie, “Moonshot” establishes the personalities of each of the three Apollo 11 crewmen, especially the affable Aldrin and the bottled-up Armstrong, and runs rapidly through the training process at Houston and Cape Kennedy. Back in the day, everyone wondered how the astronauts went to the toilet and “Moonshot” shows the apparatus built into their spacesuits. Archival footage is judiciously incorporated into the recreation, which often looks like what audiences might have seen in 1969 if high definition television had existed. One question: did the astronauts really see an unidentified light in space as they approached the moon (and decided not to alert Houston)?

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