First Man is a different kind of NASA movie

Most of the technical marvels of generations past — radio, television, cell phones, and the like — are so commonplace now that we barely stop to consider what a miracle they are. But it’s still absolutely astonishing that for a few years in the 1960s and ’70s, Americans rocketed human beings off our planet, beyond Earth’s orbit, and to the moon. We brought them back, too. How in the world did we ever do that?

Throughout First Man — a dramatization of NASA’s first moon landing, opening in theaters everywhere this weekend — the Oscar-winning La La Land director Damien Chazelle tries to remind audiences of just what a preposterously dangerous endeavor space travel was back then. He shows suborbital, orbital, and lunar flights from the perspective of the pilots, who experienced some of humanity’s most monumental achievements as a frenzied blur of deafening noise, body-rattling vibrations, and fleeting glimpses of spinning dials and blurred scenery.

Ryan Gosling stars in First Man as Neil Armstrong, who at the start of the film has just lost a young daughter to cancer. As part of a generation inclined to keep their emotions bottled up — and as a participant in a succession of competitive military programs, where signs of weakness weren’t an option — Armstrong channeled his grief into work, applying to NASA, and serving on multiple Gemini missions before commanding Apollo 11.

First Man is broken up into the stages on the way to the first moon landing, covering the various earthbound tests and orbital trial runs, while also looking back at how in the late ’60s the allure of the space program was wearing off for the general public — meaning that Armstrong and his colleagues had to spend part of their workdays lobbying politicians. The movie also spends a lot of …read more

Source:: The Week – Entertainment


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