The Movie: 10/10
I don’t give a perfect score to many movies, and the criteria is hard to define, but I know a great movie movie watching experience when I have one, and this is it. I knew a man first stepped on the moon in July of 1969. I was the ripe old age of one and a half years old, but as I lived my life I learned about it, but not that much really. I knew it was Neal Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin were the guys who walked on the moon that day, and that was about it. I should have paid more attention in school, but there ya go. All that absence of school learn’n left room for Hollywood to fill the gaps:) I know this is a movie, a work of fiction used to depict a non-fiction event and tell the story of a real man, so I accept that it’s not all truth or accurate. That being said, I think they did a good job of not making any of these people, the real people, not seem like super heroes or extraordinary, or more than they were.
The way Gosling played the role grounded the man in a way that reminded me he was simply a man who happened to have the knowledge, drive, and skill to do the job of getting to the moon. As much as I admire any and all humans who do extraordinary things, move us forward in this harsh world, I get it, they have flesh and blood and feelings and moments of life that don’t stand above the rest of us but leave them right beside us. I completely felt that in every aspect of this movie, and that made it that much better.
I don’t need to tell the story, it’s straight forward. NASA did some tests, some men sadly died in the process of getting through the entire process, and eventually mankind stood on a heavenly body that wasn’t our little Earth. It’s the subtle moments that this movie digs into that make it feel more important. I’m not one to have an opinion as to whether or now we should explore space while we have so many needs on this planet. I LOVE space, love the idea of going to outer space, heck, if you said the Star Trek generation ship was hovering over us now and boarding passengers, I’d go. Yea, a ship that keeps on going and going and going and never actual stops and you never come back. It just explores and goes forever……I’m in. I love you honey (Mr. Ascully, my husband, and I love my family, it’s just that endlessness of space has always intrigued me. I do, however understand, and I’m glad they did give a nod to this in the movie, that going to the moon in the 1960’s did cause a lot of controversy. The price of such a venture was a big deal, and while they didn’t go into it in a lot of detail in the movie, I think they did it just right. There is a section where we hear a protest song juxtaposed with preparations for the flight.
As for performances, well, stellar as far as I’m concerned from everyone involved. Gosling is so controlled and still expressive as a man struggling with the pressures of life and this huge responsibility, he stopped being Gosling, which is always a huge step up in a performance. Clair Foy was even better as his wife Through the lost of a child, through moving to be near NASA, having two sons to raise, and the pressures of knowing the dangers of her husband’s chosen job, along with his inherent more distant persona, she holds it all together. Even though some cracks barely start to show, she reigns it in. Amazing.
The look of this movie blows my mind. Yes, blows my mind. The photography, the lighting, the sets, the costumes, the special effects, all took me to each place, each moment, even down the the hollow sounding bedroom of their cabin in the woods. I was transported. The reflections on the space helmets along hypnotized me into a happy movie watching daze.
Can you tell, I loved this movie? Yes. I don’t really know what else to say about it. It’s top quality entertainment for my buck, and I recommend it for a quiet Saturday afternoon. Maybe follow it up with a bit of Star Trek, or Star Wars, just for fun:)
- Deleted Scenes (4 Minutes) – Two deleted scenes that are cut for continuity.
- Shooting For The Moon (4 Minutes) – Damien Chazelle talks about what drew him to direct this movie.
- Preparing For Launch (4 Minutes) – A look at the preparation for the movie, and discussion of how Armstrong is not seen as a major hero.
- Giant Leap In One Small Step (5 Minutes) – A look at Armstrong’s home life and how he is portrayed in the film.
- Mission Gone Wrong (3 Minutes) – A look at the stuntmen used in the movie.
- Putting You In The Seat (8 Minutes) – A look at the LED wall technology used in the making of the film. Essentially its a super high tech version of the old technique of putting a film behind the actors.
- Recreating The Moon Landing (6 Minutes) – A look at how the ending sequence was shot, also a look at the shooting locations used.
- Shooting At NASA (3 Minutes) – NASA gave Chazelle and crew unlimited access, here we see some of that behind the scenes footage.
- Astronaut Training (4 Minutes) – A look at the actors undertaking real life space training at NASA.
- Audio Commentary With Damien Chazelle, Josh Singer and Tim Cross
- 4kUHD, Blu-ray & Digital Copy
Audio & Video: 10/10
First Man comes home with a stunning 4K and 1080P transfer. Shot on film the image comes across slightly soft but full of nice looking grain. Shadow detail is almost infinite and flesh tones while color corrected look precise. This is a very nice looking transfer on either format.
Having just purchased a new Dolby Atmos amp this week I have been using First Man as a showcase and test bed to see what this new beauty can do. The sequence of the approach and the landing on the moon sounds so good it’s a whole new world for me. If you have the capability to try Dolby Atmos it’s a life-changer believe me.
Overall Score 10/10