As the Apollo 11 Lunar module descended towards the moons surface a 1202 alarm sounded. Fundamentally it was a processor overload. (If you are of a SW developer persuasion then here is the explanation of the 1202 alarm) First Man has got to be one of my favourite films of late and was a 1202 sensory overload for my noggin. (yes, this is a somewhat contrived introduction). First Man taps into all my boyhood fantasies of being an astronaut. I remember expertly feigning a sore throat and a temperature to stay at home to watch the first Space Shuttle launch. I was hooked on all things space travel from that day and likely that was the catalyst for my Star Trek obsession.
This movie is a biopic of Neil Armstrong firmly grounded in history, fact and accuracy. (allegedly)
The flight sequences are just amazing. I love the way that they are, for the most part, shot from inside the vehicles. Director Damien Chazelle’s (he of La La Land fame) puts you right in the cockpit with Armstrong. It’s intimate, claustrophobic, tense and very rattly. The choreography of the set pieces, amazing sound design, and a soundtrack from Justin Hurwitz (also a La La Land) is just an absolute joy. If you are a SciFi, techie, geeky, creative, nostalgic nut like me, you you will totally love these scenes.
However, the scenes not in air/spacecraft are less successful. For example there was not enough explanation/exploration and development of Armstrong’s relationships with is wife and kids. Ryan Gosling (yup… you guessed it, he was in La La Land too) was solid, understated and had great presence in the role of Neil A. If Emma Stone had played his wife we would have had a full house.
But if you love all things NASA, the space race and and 60’s nostalgia, then witnessing this period in full on technicolor is a mouth open, eyes wide, hair standing up on your arms, spectacular.
a 8/10 from DCgubbins
Landing Scene from First Man. (Oh my).
Real Footage not quite so cinematic