Movie Review: FIRST MAN (Blu-ray Combo Pack)

FIRST MAN is based on the book First Man: The Life of Neil A. Armstrong by James R. Hansen. The movie was directed by Damien Chazelle from a screenplay by Josh Singer and stars Ryan Gosling as Neil Armstrong and Claire Foy as Janet Armstrong. The film also stars Kyle Chandler, Jason Clarke, Corey Stoll, Pablo Schreiber, Christopher Abbot and Ciarán Hinds. First Man was executive produced Steven Spielberg, Adam Merims and Josh Singer.

FIRST MAN is the riveting story behind the first manned mission to the moon, focusing on Neil Armstrong and the decade leading to the historic Apollo 11 flight. A visceral and intimate account told from Armstrong’s perspective, the film explores the triumphs and the cost—on Armstrong, his family, his colleagues and the nation itself—of one of the most dangerous missions in history.

Director Damien Chazelle and actor Ryan Gosling team up once again for First Man, a movie that follows the ten years (1961-1969) that led up to the first manned mission to the moon. The movie centers around Neil Armstrong, his wife Janet and life as an astronaut. Neil was a family man of few words and he had this unique relationship with Janet who simply got him and understood the importance of what NASA was trying to accomplish. There would be times that he wouldn’t say a word but she knew what was going on in his head, that’s the kind of relationship they had.

The movie shows the trials and tribulations of what this team of astronauts and the space program in hole went through as well as the sacrifices they all made to finally see it through to the end. These astronauts had a vigorous training program they had to go through to see if they could even make the cut. Watching these three men on the Apollo 11 mission take flight in this literal bucket of bolts tin can and land on the moon is an amazing and emotional watch. To watch Neil Armstrong take this first step on the surface of the moon and finally accomplish the nearly impossible goal that NASA had set during the space race is such an important part of history. The dream of man going to the moon finally came true.

The packaging comes with a slipcover/o-card. The front features the artwork you see at the top of the page and the back includes movie details, some images and list of special features. Each disc is color coded and features the movie logo. Inserting the disc, the menu screen was simple and easy to navigate. The picture and sound quality for the high-definition disc were crisp and clear. The picture and sound quality for the standard-definition disc were really good. I didn’t have any issues with the video and audio. 

Bottom line is, First Man ended up being a fascinating watch about the most famous trip to space mankind has ever experienced. This pivital moment in time took place during the space race and the U.S. was desperate to reach the finish line before Russia, and even though we made it to the moon first, it wasn’t without sacrifice. This movie documents the ten years that led up to the first manned mission to the moon and the people involved. Neil Armstrong was a quite family man who sat back and patiently waited on his turn and it ultimately payed off for him. Damien Chazelle did a fantastic job telling this story and bringing it all to life on screen. The cast did a really good job with their characters but at the center of it all are the performances by Ryan Gosling and Claire Foy, the two center pieces of this gripping and emotional drama. The movie does feature some impressive visual effects but it’s definitely more of a character driven journey than anything else. We’ve gotten all kinds of movies about mankind going into space over the years but there’s never been anything about the Apollo 11 mission and it’s an extremely well made movie that’s based on this true story. First Man will be available on Blu-ray Combo Pack (plus DVD and Digital) on January 22nd.

Distributor: Universal Pictures Home Entertainment

Run Time: 140 Minutes

Rated: PG-13

Blu-ray Video: 1080p High-Definition 16×9 Widescreen (2.40:1)

Blu-ray Audio: English Dolby Atmos and Dolby Digital 2.0 / French and Spanish Digital Plus 7.1

DVD Video: 16×9 Widescreen (2.40:1)

DVD Audio: English Dolby Digital 5.1 and 2.0 / French and Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1

Subtitles: English SDH, French and Spanish

Special Features: Good Stuff! The extras include eight behind-the-scenes featurettes, two deleted scenes, some audio commentary and a digital copy of the movie.

  • Deleted Scenes (04:17)
  • Shooting for the Moon – Take an intimate look at the production of FIRST MAN and the collaborative relationship between Director Damien Chazelle and Ryan Gosling. (03:40)
  • Preparing to Launch – It’s difficult to believe that FIRST MAN is the first major feature film to tell the journey of Apollo 11. Hear from Director Damien Chazelle and his cast why now is the time to tell the story of this historic event. (03:39)
  • Giant Leap in One Small Step – A heroic character study, FIRST MAN sheds light on all the hard working individuals that got us to the moon and back. (04:31)
  • Mission Gone Wrong – Watch as Ryan Gosling reenacts a test piloting sequence gone terribly wrong. Go behind the scenes to see how he trained to nail the landing, performing the majority of his own stunts. (02:42)
  • Putting You In the Seat – Through the use of innovative technology, most of FIRST MAN was shot in-camera. Take an in-depth look behind the lens of this epic film. (07:09)
  • Recreating the Moon Landing – Filmed in IMAX to show the vastness of the moon, find out all that it took to recreate the most famous moment in NASA history. (06:01)
  • Shooting at NASA – Hear from Ryan Gosling and Director Damien Chazelle on how shooting at NASA brought unparalleled authenticity to FIRST MAN. (03:11)
  • Astronaut Training – Go behind the scenes of the three day boot camp each of the actors underwent prior to filming FIRST MAN. (04:02)
  • Feature Commentary with Director Damien Chazelle, Screenwriter Josh Singer and Editor Tom Cross
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