The film First Man has been released in the UK, and elsewhere I imagine. It is directed by the man who did La La Land, Damien Chazelle and is based on a hefty and rather dull book published in 2005 about the life of Neil Armstrong, the first man to walk on the Moon. It takes us up to just after the Moon trip, so avoids all the fame Armstrong hated so much afterwards.
I saw it in IMAX at my local cinema. It is not 3D.
Armstrong hated the fame his Moon landing generated. People always wanted to know about his experience. They were pleased to meet him, honoured, but for him it must have been a chore. He did what he had to do, then went into academic life, He moved onto a farm, declined interviews and died in 2012.
So what of the film?
Well, the actors really don’t look like the characters they are representing. If you don’t know them, it probably won’t matter, but there were characters in the cast list I had no idea were in the film.
It’s not a Right Stuff movie. It doesn’t celebrate the adventure of going into space. It concentrates on Mr Armstrong. There is some stock footage, and sound, and some effects stuff, but the Gemini 8 problem, for example, where the spacecraft was spinning uncontrollably, is shown by wobbly close ups of rivets and distorted sound.
In fact, more than two hours of unnecessarily wobbly camera work on an IMAX screen is hard to take. People were walking out, perhaps because of that.
Armstrong is portrayed as a very cold fish. The story is told from his first wife’s point of view, and he comes over as an uncaring father. The film has a downbeat ending.
You may enjoy it. I was disappointed.