For All Mankind (1989)

Not Rated   |    |  Documentary, History


For All Mankind (1989) Poster

An in-depth look at various NASA moon landing missions, starting with Apollo 8.


8.2/10
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  • Buzz Aldrin in For All Mankind (1989)
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Director:

Al Reinert

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12 April 2007 | timdalton007
10
| A Film That Is Truly "For All Mankind"
I saw this film at a very, very young age and I suspect that it is the reason I developed a heavy interest in space exploration. I recently saw this again for the first time in many years since all I had was a vague recollection of it. And after watching many times since then I have no problem saying that this is one of the best documentaries ever made.

One must give the film's director, Al Reinert, at a ton of credit for his work. Who else could have come up with the brilliant notion behind this film? Who would have thought of taking footage from all of the Apollo missions (and a couple of the Gemini missions) and combining them with the words of the men who went where no one had (or has since) gone before? (Apologies for paraphrasing Star Trek) The genius of this film is that it shuns away from traditional documentary styling. Instead of compiling facts on one mission and having a well known actor/actress do the narration, the film lets those who went tell the story. Who else is better qualified? They might not be professional actors, but the astronauts don't need to be. It is the power of the events they describe that is the main reason for their presence. They are a powerful voice in this story.

In many reviews I have read, I have seen complaints about the mixing of footage or the use of footage out of its context (a Gemini reentry used for the TLI burn for example). Yes the mixing is nowhere near subtle and is, thus, blatantly obvious. But it is my feeling that this mixing was necessary. The only way to get across the story of Apollo's achievement to the average person was to mix the footage. Does it really matter in the end? I mean by that this: the film isn't about a single mission to the Moon. No, the power of Apollo lies not in each mission, but in the overall effect of the Apollo program. This film is about the journey of Apollo, the effect in had on the astronauts, and the effect it had on us all.

If there is one element of this film that really stayed with men it was the music. It is among the most beautiful and haunting things you will ever here. Brian Eno does a marvelous job of conveying the mystery and majesty of both space and the Moon. This is one of those scores who really have to hear to believe.

For All Mankind, perhaps better then anything else out there, demonstrates the power of humanity in space. For one to really appreciate this film it needs to be seen on a large screen in surround sound. Only then can one appreciate both the film and the power of the Apollo legacy. This is the first film I've seen that I recommend to everyone. This is a film that is truly "For All Mankind".

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Documentary | History

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