Apollo 11 Blu-ray Review

Ralph Potts reviews Apollo 11, an eye opening documentary film that looks at the Apollo 11 mission to land on the moon, which was led by commander Neil Armstrong and pilots Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins.

The Review at a Glance:
(max score: 5 )

Film:

Extras:

Audio/Video total rating:
( Max score: 100 )

93

Details:

Studio and Year: Universal – 2019
MPAA Rating: G
Feature running time: 93 minutes
Genre: Documentary

Disc Format: BD-50
Encoding: AVC
Video Aspect: 2.20:1
Resolution: 1080p/24

Audio Format(s): English DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio
Subtitles: English SDH
Starring: Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin, Michael Collins
Directed by: Todd Douglas Miller
Music by: Matt Morton
Region Code: A,B,C

Release Date: May 14, 2019

“That’s One Small Step for Man….”

Synopsis:

“Apollo 11 takes the public behind-the-scenes of the groundbreaking NASA space mission and first lunar landing. Showcasing exquisite never-before-seen audio and video footage of key historical events and remarkable moments of camaraderie” – Universal Pictures Home Entertainment

My Take:

From director Todd Douglas Miller (Dinosaur 13) comes a cinematic event 50 years in the making. Crafted from a newly discovered trove of 65mm footage, and more than 11,000 hours of uncatalogued audio recordings, Apollo 11 takes us straight to the heart of NASA’s most celebrated mission—the one that first put men on the moon, and forever made Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin into household names. Immersed in the perspectives of the astronauts, the team in Mission Control, and the millions of spectators on the ground, we vividly experience those momentous days and hours in 1969 when humankind took a giant leap into the future.

Very little needs to said about the historical significance of the Apollo 11 space mission or the brave men that undertook it. What isn’t widely known are the finest details of what transpired during those fateful 8 days. Apollo 11 brings those details to light via never before seen NASA footage that brings us ever so close the mission, its people, and the definitive event that brought the entire world together. Todd Douglas Miller and the team behind this film did an outstanding job of compiling hours of footage, most notably the archived 65mm captures that were meticulously restored, to provide a truly stunning documentary that is simply a must see.

Replay Value:

Parental Guide: 

This film is appropriate for all audiences.

AUDIO/VIDEO – By The Numbers:
REFERENCE = 92-100/EXCELLENT = 83-91/GOOD = 74-82/AVERAGE = 65-73/BELOW AVERAGE = under 65

**My audio/video ratings are based upon a comparative made against other high definition media/blu-ray disc.**

Audio: 86
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)

  • Dynamics: 
  • Low frequency effects: 
  • Surround Sound presentation: 
  • Clarity/Detail: 
  • Dialog Reproduction: 
  • DSU/DTS Neural:X Rating * (non-rated element): NA

Video: 100
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)

  • Resolution/Clarity: 
  • Black Level/Shadow Detail: 
  • Color Reproduction: 
  • Fleshtones:
  • Compression: 

Apollo 11 comes to Blu-ray Disc from Universal Pictures Home Entertainment featuring 1080p AVC encoded video and DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio surround sound.

This documentary is comprised of film stock made up of 16mm, 35mm, and 65mm elements. Quite a bit of it is the restored 65mm film. The 35mm/16mm film looks fine and as you’d expect. It’s the 65mm elements that are simply mind blowing. As such, my comments and overall rating will be reflective of that footage.

This is a reference quality high definition presentation that boasts brilliant colors, superlative depth, and an abundance of high-level detail. The nature defined color palette is alluring as the deep, vivid, reds, succulent blues, and resplendent earth toned hues leap from the 2.20:1 framed video. Contrast balance is spot on as the various shades of gray are gradationally revealing and whites appear bright with crisp highlights that preserve detail. Blacks are delineated, deep, and rich, which works hand in hand with the definitive shadow detail to provide low level images with excellent perspective and depth of field. Resolution is impeccable as the vastness and scope of the recorded elements offers lucid, three-dimensional acuity that is extraordinary, providing the presentation with a visual aesthetic that belies its age/time period.

The high resolution DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack has excellent dynamic range and refining detail. Dialogue is articulately reproduced through the center channel and maintains a position of prominence within the front soundstage. This isn’t an active surround mix but when applied the surround channels generate an involving atmosphere. Front and rear channel imaging is excellent as sounds and spatial cues mate perfectly with the events transpiring onscreen. All of the music featured throughout the film sounds open, airy and wonderfully detailed. I must to admit to finding this lossless audio presentation to be much better than anticipated.

NOTE: The Blu-ray specs list the audio presentation as lossy Dolby Digital 5.1 however it is as reported above.

Bonus Features:

  • Apollo 11: discovering the 65mm
  • Trailer
  • Digital Copy

Final Thoughts:

Apollo 11 is an insightful, compelling and terrific documentary that celebrates one of the most significant events in human history. It comes to Blu-ray from Universal Pictures Home Entertainment featuring marvelous high definition video and, crystal clear lossless sound. Apollo 11 is simply a must have for everyone that enjoys its subject matter.

Ralph Potts
AVS Forum Blu-ray Reviews

Reference Review System:

JVC DLA-RS500 3D/4K Ready High Definition Front Projector
(Calibrated with Calman 5 & C6-HDR Meter from Spectracal)
Stewart Filmscreen – Studiotek 130 G3 100” 16×9 Screen
Carada Masquerade Electronic Horizontal Masking System
Marantz AV7704 Audio/Video Processor
Emotiva XPA-7 Gen 3 Seven Channel Amplifier
Emotiva XPA-11 Gen 3 Amplifier
Panasonic DP-UB820 Ultra HD Blu-ray Player
System Controller: Apple iPad/iRule Pro HD Universal Remote Control
Canton “Ergo” and Canton In-Ceiling Series Speakers
SVS Ultra Surrounds (Gloss Finish in Bipolar Configuration)
Dual SVS PC4000 Cylinder Subwoofers
Panamax M5400-PM Power Conditioner/Surge Protector
Wireworld, Better Cables (Silver Serpent) – Audio/Video/Speaker Cabling
AC Infinity Aircom T8 Component Cooling Systems


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