We all heard “quarantine” countless times over the past year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but what if there was a possibility that microorganisms were living on you after your return from a trip to the Moon and the United States’ government required you to live in a space about the size of an Airstream with two other adults before being transferred to a special facility for 21 days? That’s exactly what happened to the Apollo 11 astronauts (Buzz Aldrin, Neil Armstrong and Mike Collins), and this short documentary takes you through their journey from their reentry onto Earth to their release 17 days later (three days were spent encapsulated after the lunar hatch closed).
The film starts with showing all three astronauts leaving the capsule in the middle of the Pacific, wearing Biological Isolation Garments (they’re reminiscent of those full-body FUNSUITS that some people wear for Halloween) before being loaded onto a converted Airstream for their journey back to the Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas. After arriving in Houston, all three were taken to a special housing unit to spend the remainder of their quarantine, where Armstrong actually spent his 39th birthday.
The film is told through a series of beautifully restored color news clips, with the viewer receiving updates simply stating the location and what day of quarantine the footage is from. We’re never introduced to any of the players on screen, which is fine for the astronauts, but I personally would have enjoyed knowing who some of the NASA employees were, their duties, etc. There is no audio commentary besides the news footage used, and I was rather tickled to hear Walter Cronkite speak for one segment. Overall, the film is an enjoyable watch for those who want to know what the first 21 days back on Earth were like for the Apollo 11 astronauts.
NEON AND CNN FILMS’ SHORT FILM “APOLLO 11: QUARANTINE” will be released EXCLUSIVELY with IMAX® on January 29th