First Man Blu-ray + DVD + Digital
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President John F. Kennedy set the mission objective for Apollo 11 on May 25, 1962: perform a crewed lunar landing and return to Earth.
On the ground-breaking Gemini 8 Mission, Neil Armstrong and David Scott were the first to link two spacecrafts together in Earth orbit.
From lift off to Earth landing the Apollo 11 Mission took 8 days, 3 hours, 18 mins, and 35 seconds.
Oscar-winning director Damien Chazelle and star Ryan Gosling reteam for the riveting story behind the first manned mission to the moon, focusing on Neil Armstrong and the decade leading to the historic Apollo 11 flight. A visceral and intimate account told from Armstrong's perspective, based on the book by James R. Hansen, the film explores the triumphs and the cost—on Armstrong, his family, his colleagues and the nation itself—of one of the most dangerous missions in history.
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This movie, First Man, is dedicated to proving the opposite. How? It turns ancient tragedy on its head, presenting a great man, Neil Armstrong, as an insipidly ordinary man with a 'heroic flaw': emotional impassivity. To what end? To make the postmodern point that the concept of courage in the face of great dangers, known and unknown, is merely another 'narrative', a story told in order to deceive you into believing that astronauts are spectacular examples of human excellence, when actually they are the playthings of the powerful, no more than emotionally repressed drones whose apparent conquest of fear is simply an inability to feel anything.
Why do the filmmakers spend so much boring footage on Armstrong's domestic problems rather than showing us more of the many struggles to master a dangerous and difficult technology from the point of view of the men who were expected to pilot it? That's an easy one. The more we see of Armstrong's helpless withdrawal from his wife and children in the face of the demands of marriage and fatherhood, the less heroic he becomes. The test-pilot and training sequences linger lovingly on all the pain and failure. Did the astronauts ever master the three-axis spin challenge? Sure, but do we see it here? No, instead we are treated to these great men vomiting their guts out into toilets in an inexplicably filthy NASA restroom. Why? It undercuts their greatness. If all you knew of the early U.S. space program was what you see here, you would have to think it was a relentless sequence of disasters punctuated by a occasional unremarkable -- and barely remarked -- step forward, until, as if by some inexplicable miracle, Apollo 11 reaches the moon.
So you were expecting a story to lift the human spirit? Listen to the score. You'll hear a few moments of apologetically uplifting music to accompany the lunar landing and that's it. For the rest, the music is appropriate to the funereal mood director Damien Chazelle obviously worked so hard to maintain. And the cinematography, which one would expect to be unabashedly romanticist for a subject like this, also spills the postmodern beans -- Chazelle blends film noir lighting and an over-saturated-kodacolor documentary look, a sarcastic appropriation of harsh realism and 1960's kitsch. Nice touch.
My problem with First Man is not that it is poorly made. Given the theme the filmmakers chose to present, their presentation is a big success. My problem is with the theme the filmmakers chose to present. Let me summarize it in words: Man is not a heroic being of sovereign will and glorious aspiration, but only the plaything of the natural and social forces that control his destiny. If you share this premise, this film will dispel any fears you had that great human achievements are a threat to your world view.
I went to see this movie because it promised me the opportunity to experience the look, sound and feeling of human greatness. I was deceived. First Man is a sneak attack on human greatness.
People, please read the volume First Man by James Hansen that this movie is based on before watching to get the true picture of Armstrong's character...this movie unnecessarily decapitates it and destroys an otherwise fine depiction of NASA's race to the moon.
Top international reviews
Director Damien Chazelle brings us a biopic movie on the subject, with Ryan Gosling in the lead, that aims to shed some light on the man who was the first to walk on the moon.
This is not a biopic that covers his entire life, though. Just the decade before the Apollo eleven mission. During which time Neil Armstrong flew many different craft, often coming very close to catastrophe in some primitive and dangerous experimental machines. When he suffered personal loss. And when he became part of a mission that the whole world would watch. That could very easily have failed. How does some cope with all this?
First man has cinematography that makes it look like something from the era. The sound design is incredible, and it really makes you feel as if you are in these machines that are rickety and might come apart at any moment. But it also has human perspective.
Ryan Gosling's Neil is a fascinating watch, a man who doesn't seem to be able to articulate his feelings, even though he clearly has them, and a man of incredibly intense focus. Claire Foy also stands out for her portrayal of his wife Janet, who mans the home front under all the pressure while her husband is doing all this.
There's a lot of other figures from the history, some of whom you might blink and miss if you don't know the subject. But Corey Stoll [Eph from TV show 'the Strain] does manage to make an impression as Buzz Aldrin. And fans of tv show Gotham watch out for Riddler Corey Michael Smith as astronaut Roger Chaffee.
Even though you know how the sequence will go, the lunar landing ends up being one of the tensest bits of cinema you will ever see. And although it doesn't show the flag planting, it doesn't show the difficulties they had in take off either, so it's not as selective as it was accused of being.
This is a portrayal of one remarkable man who was at the centre of one remarkable achievement, and it brings it all to life in a manner you will never forget. With a subtle but memorable score as well. Well worth five stars.
The dvd has the following language and subtitle options:
Languages: English. English audio description.
It goes into the menu when loaded without trailers or ads to get through.
Deleted scenes. Two of these, which can be watched individually or in a row. One is four minutes long. The other no more than thirty seconds.
There's a commentary from the director, the writer, and the editor.
Plus a few short featurettes. Which run from two to six minutes.
Shooting for the moon. One of those general overview of the movie featurettes.
Preparing to launch. About the genesis of the film.
Giant leap in one small step. About Neil Armstrong himself. This one is really good.
Mission gone wrong. About filming the sequences of flying the machines.
Putting you in the seat. More about general filming.
Recreating the moon landing. Which speaks for itself.
Shooting at NASA. some fascinating film of NASA locations.
Astronaut training. more of the above.
Don’t expect this film to glorify the obscenely costly Apollo 11 mission to send a “man-in-a-can” 250,000 miles to a desolate planet, while millions back on Earth are suffering excruciating poverty, hunger, and don’t even have clean water and proper sanitation.
The USA’s childish “let’s-beat-the Russians-to-the-moon” vanity project cost a staggering £113 BILLION in today’s money.
Imagine what that money could of been spent on - even in the United States, where many live in poverty and are often denied expensive non-emergency healthcare.
And the same goes for Russia: billions squandered on the Space Race instead of their own citizens - even poverty-ravaged India now has a space program.
However, just like the mountains of cash, after Apollo 11 the public’s interest in space travel soon disappeared, only to be briefly awakened when Apollo 13 got into trouble, making “good TV” - and later a gripping Tom Hanks movie.
In this often exhilarating film the bland-but-okay Ryan Gosling plays Neil Armstrong, the first man to step on the moon, uttering the immortal line: “One small step for man; one giant leap for mankind”.
Sadly, of course, it was just one small step for Neil. Mankind never benefited at all - in fact, the opposite.
I enjoyed exploring this story such tonight such as it focused the attention on exploring the triumphs and the dangers of one astronaut named Neil Armstrong though, in some parts I found that the screenplay of the film by Josh Singer had some unbalanced movements in them.
Lastly, I appreciate the director Damien Chazelle who directed this whole adventure from the start until the end and I like the quantity of these bonus features which are included on this item so it helps you to understand how different the Apollo 11 space mission was happening 50 years ago in 1969 compared to what is going on down on Earth now in 2019.
It is a film that comes at you in unexpected ways: It is steadily paced, good music, personality driven with gentle doses of easy engineering. The flying, tragedy, family, politics, paparazzi, emotions, accident investigation issues credibly dealt with. The sensationalism, the film leaves to the events themselves and with incidental press conferences. The feel of the launches, of the narrow margins and of the issues at stake in each step taken, was well captured. The risk and fear was too. It was a clever film that way, and not typical of any other recent films in the style and technique used to achieve it... but in that it is very successful. 'The right stuff' and 'Apollo 13' were block busters driven by hollywood. This feels alot more personal and strangley intense.
It's quite a long film, and was shot in imax, though I saw it on the small screen. As such, there's alot of scenes that seem to be shot specifically to be immersive (or impressive!) in a big cinema, large strange noises, bangs and whistles, rapid camera movements etc. The narrative itself comes second and all these effects are too much viewed at home. It simply isn't an earlier version of Apollo 13, it has nice period scenes, 60's cars and clothing, but the cinematography and direction aren't anywhere in the same league. The acting is fine, the cast make the most of the script. The special effects are just fine, though IMHO, somewhat over-used and over-done. The landing sequence itself makes use of real recordings of Houston's communications, and as most people have heard Charlie Duke's voice a thousand times ('we copy you down eagle') it almost breaks the fourth wall to hear him again in the middle of a drama. Ryan Gosling is a great actor but I feel his face is too well known to play the somewhat taciturn, slightly bland persona of Mr Armstrong, and he maybe comes across as too surly or moody in an attempt to appear more Neil-like. Maybe a less-well known actor would've brought more to the role. And one more thing: The control panels in 'eagle' and 'columbia' were filthy, worn and corroded. Obviously not the real ones as they weren't that well done; but in several of the astronaut's biographies, they mention the 'new car' smell of the spacecraft; the mission was always the first to fly the brand new craft, and they were never re-used; so how did the panels get so dirty?
ps 4k uhd copy excellent vision and audio shame about content.