Ryan Gosling stars in this movie based on the life of Neil Armstrong who was the first man to walk on the moon. The film covers the eight years that led up to his moon walk along with the moonwalk itself. The movie highlights elements of his personal life including some very serious personal losses that I was unaware of until watching the movie. The story also tells a frank tale about the career-related issues that caused him to aspire to become an astronaut in the Gemini program.
2018, Color, Rated PG-13, 2 Hrs 21 mins
1080P, 2.39:1 Aspect Ratio
English Dolby Atmos
Starring: Ryan Gosling, Claire Foy, Jason Clarke, Kyle Chandler, and Corey Stoll
Directed by: Damien Chazelle
As of the writing of my review here, this movie has already garnered a Golden Globe award for the Best Original Score – Motion Picture. First Man has also been nominated for four Oscars though the awards have not been announced as yet.
Going in, I thought the movie might be more action-centric than it was. You know what I mean, right? It was supposed to have lots of rocket launches with flames, smoke, and crazy stuff. Sure the movie had some of that but the story telling in this case was more thoughtful and introspective with extended interior cockpit scenes that played out like a fever dream. It came across as a way of exploring the man in the mix, not just the machine. I loved this approach. The movie has a long running time but I was fixated, eyes wide open for the entire 2 hours and 21 minutes. My only criticism is that Gosling doesn’t look much like Armstrong.
First Man was shot on film which obviously adds to the production costs but pays off by lending the movie a retro look that is fitting of the time period. By and large the picture was excellent. There are a few softer scenes image-wise but those appeared to be intentional. The gray scale tracking was spot on in the darker scenes and the image popped with detail when called upon. (An aside, why do the interior parts of the spacecraft look old and dirty when these were new machines at the time? Anybody?)
The audio is equal to or better than the video. It’s presented in Dolby Atmos, my favorite codec of modern times. Every single channel got a serious work out while screening this film. I especially appreciated how the bass was full, strong, and well integrated in the whole. Further, the musical score is a real treat. Each scene that had accompanying music benefitted from the wonderful writing and musicianship.
This package contains two discs – the Blu-ray disc and a DVD. The case also includes a digital code inside. The on-disc extras are quite extensive and entertaining:
Deleted Scenes, Shooting for the Moon, Preparing to Launch, Giant Leap in One Small Step, Mission Gone Wrong, Putting You in the Seat, Recreating the Moon Landing, Astronaut Training, and Audio Commentary with Director Damien Chazelle, Screenwriter Josh Singer, and Editor Tim Cross.