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First Man Blu-ray Review

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“First Man” is refreshingly not like the usual biopic.

Going into “First Man” I was expecting a typically formulaic Hollywood biopic, but that’s not what director Damien Chazelle and writer Josh Singer delivered. Sure, there are familiar biopic elements here as it delves into Neil Armstrong’s past, his family, the 60’s Space Race, his brushes with death in the X-15 rocket plane, Lunar Landing training vehicle, and Gemini 8, and the historic Apollo 11 mission, but this movie is largely a much more introspective and psychological character study about the man. At its heart, “First Man” is about a man who puts himself into his work after suffering loss in his own life with family and friends. He has to find the strength and find himself leading up to the big moon landing mission. As a result of this, his family life suffers as he begins to grow distant from his wife and children.

It’s a shame “First Man” was overshadowed this past fall due to a crowded schedule and a phony controversy because this is a challenging and unique cinematic experience. Some have criticized the film for being devoid of joy due to the rather cold drama and, while that’s valid, it’s also the point. This is a story about a quiet and distant family man who puts his life on the line in order to make the seemingly impossible a reality. It’s all about sacrifice and loss. We all know the outcome and the joy that brought, but the path to get there was an arduous one and that’s what this film shows.

Another striking thing about “First Man” is how immersive it feels. Damien Chazelle really gives the viewer the sensation that they are in the shuttles and vehicles along with Neil. It’s a very bold, claustrophobic and dare I say realistic creative choice. Other filmmakers would have used CGI to show the vehicles from the outside as they traversed space. Chazelle showed us the journey from the inside.

On the subject of Chazelle, the director continues to be one of the most exciting filmmakers around. After a mere 3 films, he hasn’t stuck to one genre or theme. There’s such a variety in his work and I can’t wait to see what he does next.

Over on the cast front, Ryan Gosling shines as Neil Armstrong. It’s tough for any actor to convey a largely internal role, but Ryan Gosling nails it. Claire Foy also impresses as Neil’s strong wife Janet who has to deal with a splintering family all while trying to keep it together. Expect to see A LOT of familiar faces in roles of varying degree such as Jason Clarke, Corey Stoll, Patrick Fugit, Lukas Haas, Kyle Chandler, Ethan Embry and Pablo Schreiber.

Video/Audio:

Presentation: 2.39:1 1080p. How does it look? “First Man” has kind of a gritty/retro look/ As such, it’s not the typically glossy film you’d expect to see these days. With that said, this hi-def transfer is superb at capturing what Chazelle was going for.

Audio Track: Dolby Atmos. How does it sound? From Justin Hurwitz’s award winning score to the creaks and rattles from the various vehicles, this is an incredible Atmos track.

Extras:
* Digital copy
* DVD copy
* 2 deleted scenes
* “Shooting For The Moon”- A featurette on the film that contains set footage, interviews, and discussions about the production and film.
* “Preparing To Launch” and “Giant Leap In One Small Step”- 2 featurettes about Neil Armstrong.
* “Mission Gone Wrong”- An extra about the Lunar Lander training vehicle sequence.
* “Putting You In The Seat” centers around the stylistic choices and the perspective of putting the viewer in the vehicles essentially.
* “Recreating The Moon Landing”- The title says it all.
* “Shooting At NASA”- A look at the filming that took place at NASA.
* “Astronaut Training”- This fun extra showcases the cast getting the space experience at NASA.

* An informative commentary by Damien Chazelle, Josh Singer and Tom Cross.

January 7, 2019 - Posted by | Blu-Ray review | , , , , , , ,

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