It’s strange, having been born post the moon landings, the fact that a person has walked on the moon has always been true for me. So in some weird sense it is just normal that a human being strapped themselves into a rocket, exploded into space and actually walked on the moon. Not only that, but made it back safely. That’s just a thing that happened. It isn’t really worth thinking about.
But if you do think about it, really, stop and just think, it is pretty damn impressive. Although part of me also wonders why. And was it all really just to get there first, to win and bankrupt an enemy? and once the US had done it, they just ticked that box and said job done.
I know, that isn’t fair, the science behind space travel, behind a rocket even taking off safely is incredible and has led to so many advancements. I just can’t help that little niggle that says you only did it to be first, and really, isn’t that a terrible terrible thing? Because to achieve such a wonder so that you could brag about it is so petty, and also untrue. Because in science1 there is no such thing as the first. Not really, all your work is based upon work that other people, other cultures, have done. No one person is responsible for it, many many hundreds of people worked on hundreds of different projects in order for that one man to hold the title of “First man on the moon”. Which is not to say that Armstrong doesn’t deserve recognition; his talents and work deserve mention and honour, but so too do the innumerable others who helped put him there. Unfortunately that isn’t the way our cultures seem to work at the moment.
But First man the film isn’t really about that either. Although in one sense it totally is about space and rockets and explosions and danger. In another it is a film about a man trying to come to terms with grief and loss.
And it is all the better for being that film.
For all the grandeur and wonder that the expanse of space conjures, this is in so many ways a film that focuses on the small, the personal. It goes big when it has to, but it excels in the little moments that are sometimes ignored or taken for granted.
It is a really good film, and I think that it is one I’ll want to watch again.
and most other things lets face it ↩