This is documentary film distilled down to a pure essence. Aside from some simple graphics to explain what is happening, there is pretty much no modern-day content - even the soundtrack is made with period synthesizers.
While there is some lower-quality footage shot by NASA personnel and the astronauts, much of the movie is 65mm footage originally shot for the 1971 documentary Moonwalk One. But while that was shown cropped, this time we get to see it full frame, including unused shots.
And that footage is truly like stepping back in time. Crystal clear, with great colour, we get to see the Saturn V being transported to the launch site, the astronauts dressing and travelling to the launch pad, the huge crowds gathering for the launch, the inside of Launch Control, and finally the launch, which is especially spectacular. Then later on, recovery and quarantine.
All of the dialogue is either the actual mission audio (much of it synchronized to footage from Mission Control or from the spacecraft) or from the TV broadcasts. The highlights are the landing shown in real-time complete with fuel gauge and error display, a panorama shot of the moon's surface, and the first steps shown from an alternate, clearer angle than the famous TV broadcast.
The closest thing I can compare it to is Koyaanisqatsi, though not as abstract. It's a completely new perspective on the mission. Unlike the grain and fuzz that's always made the mission seem like a vague ancient artifact, the clarity of this footage, the way it's edited with the mission audio, and the walkthrough-style continuity makes it something you can almost smell and touch.
The only drawback is that it feels sped along at times - it could've used another half hour (the running time is 93 minutes).
The upcoming large-format IMAX version (in contrast to the full-length "Liemax" version which is reviewed below) is only 45 minutes, and I shudder to think what THAT will be like...
Do NOT wait for home video, this is a movie that should ONLY be seen on the big screen.
4 1/2 out of 5.