Author Topic: First Man  (Read 4850 times)

Offline Zakalwe

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Re: First Man
« Reply #45 on: October 13, 2018, 12:24:48 PM »
Well, it's an interesting movie. Very much about the relationship between husband and wife and less about the events.
Unfortunately it is ruined by the scourge of modern cinematography....the zoomed-in, wobbly, out-of-ficus shot. Just about every shot is tight in so the centre of focus is an ear or a nostril hair. The camera constantly wobbles and moves. Focus is all over the place. No, this does not make it personal or give it a feeling of "being there" (quite the opposite)...it gives it a feeling of being shot by a drunk amateur with early onset Parkinson's. It constantly takes you out of the film and at times disassociates you completely. At times, for instance during the Gemini crisis, it was impossible to look at the screen (I saw it in IMAX, quite close to the screen so it filled my vision). This nonsense was just about acceptable in the Blair Witch project or in bad YouTube videos. Every single shot, until a handful on the Lunar surface became tedious and predictable...zoom in, pull focus on and out, wobble, wobble, wobble.
Gosling was OK....he was able to express his full emotional repertoire of mahogany to teak.

There's a good film in there somewhere, but it needs to be reshot with camera operators that have more than one single shot technique in their kitbag. And that have a tripod or two. Martin Scorsese it is not.
"The strain of anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that 'my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge.' " - Isaac Asimov

Offline bknight

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Re: First Man
« Reply #46 on: October 13, 2018, 12:37:38 PM »
Nice concise evaluation of the movie.  I'm glad I waited until it debuts on cable.
Truth needs no defense.  Nobody can take those footsteps I made on the surface of the moon away from me.
Eugene Cernan

Offline Zakalwe

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Re: First Man
« Reply #47 on: October 13, 2018, 02:23:54 PM »
This review sums it up for me:

https://www.peoplesworld.org/article/first-man-the-wrong-stuff-from-claustrophobia-to-the-cosmos/

In short, I rate it as a swing and a miss. A painful miss at that as a different director and cinematographer would have made a massive difference.

<edit> There's a couple of scents that are stunning...the Saturn V launch is beautiful in places and the Lunar surface is desolately beautiful. However, they're not worth the entrance price.
« Last Edit: October 13, 2018, 02:30:24 PM by Zakalwe »
"The strain of anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that 'my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge.' " - Isaac Asimov

Offline Obviousman

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Re: First Man
« Reply #48 on: October 13, 2018, 05:02:52 PM »
I'm going to see it today. It might be that I end up agreeing totally with his assessment, but I do not share his political leanings. Hell, he may as well have ended the review with:

Well, comrades, come the revolution there will be an end to bourgeoisie directors like this producing their fascist propaganda


Offline Zakalwe

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Re: First Man
« Reply #49 on: October 13, 2018, 06:07:54 PM »
The review that I linked to?
Yes...I agree if so. Chop out the middle paragraphs of political ranting and the rest pertains, accurately IMHO, to the film.

I was massively disappointed.
"The strain of anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that 'my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge.' " - Isaac Asimov

Offline BDL

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Re: First Man
« Reply #50 on: October 13, 2018, 06:10:32 PM »
I watched it today. It was great.
“One small step for [a] man, one giant leap for mankind.” - Neil Armstrong, 1969

Offline BDL

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Re: First Man
« Reply #51 on: October 13, 2018, 06:14:08 PM »
Although, I was never much of a critic. I like just about every movie I watched. Overall, I think I really liked it.
“One small step for [a] man, one giant leap for mankind.” - Neil Armstrong, 1969

Offline LunarOrbit

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Re: First Man
« Reply #52 on: October 13, 2018, 10:43:39 PM »
I watched it today as well. It didn't knock Apollo 13 out of 1st place on my list of favourite space movies, but I didn't hate it either. I'd maybe put it on par with The Right Stuff for re-watchability.

The movie is from the perspective of the people in the scene, so if you're in a rocket you're only going to see the spacecraft's controls and dials, and a tiny view out the window. There are only a few views of spacecrafts from an outside perspective. I think the "shaky cam" technique makes sense in most of the cases that it is used in this movie, since if you're on top of a launching rocket things will tend to get shaky.

I also wasn't that bothered by all of the close-up shots, since it was usually used to show the intensity of the character's concentration, or other emotions. I think you also get a lot of tight shots while inside spacecraft in order to give the audience a sense of how small the spacecrafts were. At least that's how I think of it, so it didn't bother me.

I wasn't impressed by the sound effects during the Gemini 8 launch (which seemed to be made up of squealing pigs and random loud bangs), but maybe other movies are to blame for giving me a false idea of how a rocket launch should sound.

I found this movie to be quite dark (both darkly lit, and emotionally dark), whereas Apollo 13 was brighter and happier.

I didn't like how Neil Armstrong was portrayed as being almost completely emotionless. It made him look less human. I didn't know him, but from what I do know of him he was maybe a bit introverted and probably overly serious at times, but the movie made him come across as having no ability to interact with other people. In the movie, he would talk to his children the same way he would talk to the press during an interview. But this is usually the way an extrovert would portray an introvert (as if we're robots).

I thought the depiction of the Apollo 11 moon landing and the whole lunar EVA looked pretty amazing. When Neil and Buzz open the hatch you hear the air rush out and then it's completely silent. It does contain one scene that might be totally fictional, but I could be wrong. It was a personal moment for Armstrong, so maybe he just didn't make it known to many people outside of his family. I'll have to check his biography to see if it's mentioned there.

The only other criticism that I have about the moon landing sequence was that the timing of Buzz Aldrin calling out "Contact light!" seems way off from how it should be. In the movie it goes like this:

<The LM lands on the moon>
<4 seconds pass>
Buzz: Contact light!
Neil: Shutdown!

Shouldn't it be more like this?

Buzz: Contact light!
Neil: Shut down!
<The LM lands on the moon>

Or maybe like this?

Buzz: Contact light!
<The LM lands on the moon>
Neil: Shut down!
It suddenly struck me that that tiny pea, pretty and blue, was the Earth.
I put up my thumb and shut one eye, and my thumb blotted out the planet Earth.
I didn't feel like a giant. I felt very, very small.
- Neil Armstrong (1930-2012)

Offline onebigmonkey

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Re: First Man
« Reply #53 on: October 14, 2018, 11:34:07 AM »
Having seen it yesterday I'd agree with a lot of what you said. I was very puzzled by the sound effects during the Gemini out of control sequence, not so sure there would have been much atmosphere to make a sound but how else do you get the message across to a general audience? As an aside it amused me that the film was labelled as containing 'Mild threat'. I don't think they saw that as particularly mild!

As for emotionless, I didn't quite see it like that. I thought the central theme of why he was the way he was and why he threw himself into his work was well done (it was something I felt from reading the book). I also want to check that personal scene - I really hope it's true regardless of whether it's in the book ;)

Apart from that out of sequence 'contact light' thing, I felt the approach to the landing site was over-hyped - it was going too fast for too long and some of the landscape over which that final approach supposedly occurred is totally wrong, but obviously much more dramatically satisfying. The Earth was wrong throughout - particularly when viewed from the surface, and I'm baffled why they couldn't use the correct one - not like there aren't enough images from the mission. Minor quibbles that are going to bother someone who has spent years looking at Apollo images, less so a general cinema-goer.

I quite enjoyed seeing Buzz being portrayed as a bit of a dick, which he undoubtedly is a lot of the time!

On the whole very enjoyable, I'm looking forward to buying my own copy, and ideally I'd like a 'Space Geek's edit' with more of the actual space stuff in it :D

Offline Obviousman

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Re: First Man
« Reply #54 on: October 14, 2018, 03:54:10 PM »
I didn't like it for reasons others have mentioned: Armstrong portrayed as emotionless, 'shaky-cam', etc. I also didn't like the scene where Deke talks to Neil in the bathroom and tells him that it looks like Apollo 11 will be the first to land, and they want him to be the CDR; that simply did not happen that way.

Neil and his crew were backups for Apollo 9 and in the normal course of rotation, they would have been Apollo 12. The 'swap' between Apollos 8 & 9 saw the backups change as well, which meant the Pete Conrad lost 11 and his crew would now be Apollo 12.

Offline BDL

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Re: First Man
« Reply #55 on: October 14, 2018, 04:19:49 PM »
Yeah, there were a bunch of inaccuracies that I’d wished they’d got right.
“One small step for [a] man, one giant leap for mankind.” - Neil Armstrong, 1969

Offline Ranb

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Re: First Man
« Reply #56 on: October 14, 2018, 07:19:25 PM »
I enjoyed the movie but I'm certain numerous liberties were taken for dramatic reasons.  I'm not done reading the book First Man so I'll learn more later.  I thought the cinematography was poor.  Are the X-15 and Titan rockets really that bumpy?

I thought it was much better than the Apollo 11 episode of From the Earth to the Moon, but not as good as Apollo 13 or the Apollo 11 TV movie 

Offline Obviousman

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Re: First Man
« Reply #57 on: October 15, 2018, 01:08:21 AM »
There was also the scene with Neil leaving baby Karen's bracelet on the moon... did that happen? I don't remember it.

Offline Zakalwe

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Re: First Man
« Reply #58 on: October 15, 2018, 01:33:17 AM »
There was also the scene with Neil leaving baby Karen's bracelet on the moon... did that happen? I don't remember it.
AFAIK, that was all artistic licence.
"The strain of anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that 'my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge.' " - Isaac Asimov

Offline onebigmonkey

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Re: First Man
« Reply #59 on: October 15, 2018, 04:42:11 AM »
There was also the scene with Neil leaving baby Karen's bracelet on the moon... did that happen? I don't remember it.
AFAIK, that was all artistic licence.

I read an interview with Hansen where he says as much, along with "We don't really know", arguing that no-one ever saw Armstrong's PPK so it could have been. It's a nice thought and I hope it is.