Recaps & Reviews

First Man Launches On Bluray

We’ve all heard the stories about the first trip to the moon (including the conspiracy theories that it was faked), but what we haven’t heard a lot about is the astronaut who took the first steps on the moon. Sure he was in the spotlight and became a national treasure, but who was Neil Armstrong the man? First Man takes a glimpse into Armstrong’s life, and tries to show us personal side of this very public figure.

First Man is really two stories in one. On one side it tells the story of Neil Armstrong (played by Ryan Gosling) the astronaut. We get to see his journey from pilot to space explorer, and how he got ready to take that historic walk on the moon. On the other side it shows us Neil Armstrong the family man, from the death of his young daughter, to his complicated marriage to Janet (Claire Foy) and how he raised his two sons. In the end you also get to see how his two worlds interact with one another, which helps give you a complete picture of who Armstrong was.

While space exploration is exciting, First Man is a rather slow paced film that could have benefited from a little more editing. Gosling’s performance is strong, but Armstrong himself seems to be rather dull at times, as he doesn’t seem to show many emotions.  Gosling has displayed time and time again throughout his career that stone-faced, tormented characters are his specialty, and Armstrong might just be his best role yet. As strong as Gosling’s portrayal is, it is Claire Foy who steals the show by playing Armstrong’s wife. You get a real sense of the pain she goes through as her husband spends more and more time preparing himself for a mission, and pulling away from his family as he does so. Director Damien Chazelle does a great job keeping things as accurate as possible too, but if there is one complaint, it’s an extra add-in during one of the ending sequences that may or may not be true. Sure, the scene did appear in the book the movie was based on, but nobody knows for certain if Armstrong did leave anything behind on the moon. It’s one of the strongest scenes in the film, and to find out later on that it might not be true was disappointing.

First Man looks great on Bluray, and the sound is amazing, although there are times that the speaking can be hard to hear unless you turn the volume up. The disc is loaded with special features as well, from deleted scenes to an audio commentary, but it’s the short features you will want to watch. You can see what it was like for the actors to go through astronaut training, take a look at the recreated spaceships, take a journey behind the making of the film, find out more about the astronauts portrayed in the film and more. 

If you are interested in the first trip to the moon, or even just space flight, First Man is something you won’t want to miss. Unfortunately for others, the film may be just a little too boring to sit through. The film may find itself getting a couple of Oscar nominations later this week, but don’t expect it to win many of them. First Man is available on Bluray and Dvd starting January 22nd. 



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