First Man

I want to write a review of a film that has yet to come out. OK then, a preview…

I am a child of the 1960s really. I was into The Beatles, I had granny glasses and a fringed jacket and could tell you anything about the space race. I remember when man first landed on the Moon. It was middle of the night in the UK and I was not allowed to watch it live, one of the greatest events in the history of humanity, spoilt by my parents under threat of punishment.

There are many shameful things about this world. One is that people do not remember the names of the astronauts who walked on the Moon. Another is that we no longer have the technology to get us there, this 50 years after the main event. Of course, as soon as Apollo 11/Eagle landed, people began to complain it was too expensive, a waste of money. Money that could be spent on wars. Three missions were cancelled. Scientific enquiry counts for nothing.

Neil Armstrong was the first man to walk on our satellite. As such, he must go down as one of the most famous men in history. But let’s not forget the courage, skill and achievements of the others who went to the Moon though.

Why was Armstrong chosen? I think, for two reasons, one his incredible skill, the other, his ability to cope under pressure. During the flight and afterwards. For the rest of his life he was bugged by people wanting to meet him, ask questions, have a little piece of his life. In the end, for Armstrong, it got too much. He hated it, and became a recluse. By the time the excellent documentary In The Shadow Of The Moon was made, he refused to participate. He wanted a quiet life. And, of course, in 2012 he died.

There have been feature films about space, especially Apollo 13. There have been documentaries. Now there is a new one coming up, First Man.

Trailers indicate it is to be released in IMAX.

It centres on Armstrong. Presumably the climax will be the trip to the Moon.

Watching space footage on a big screen is as close as most of us will ever get. I hope their cgi footage is correct, and watchable.

I am worried. These types of ‘biography’ take liberties with the facts, for no reason. I am hoping Mr Armstrong will not be portrayed as some kind of swashbuckling space pioneer, just a guy doing his job exceptionally well. If they alter the facts to keep it ‘interesting’, that will be depressing.

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