Based on a Book
Review Of Director Damien Chazelle’s First Trailer For Apollo 11 FIRST MAN Starring Ryan Gosling And Claire Foy
“Houston. Tranquility base here. The Eagle has landed…”
On the heels of their six-time Academy Award®-winning smash, LA LA LAND, Oscar-winning director Damien Chazelle and star Ryan Gosling reteam for Universal Pictures’ FIRST MAN, the riveting story of NASA’s mission to land a man on the moon, focusing on Neil Armstrong and the years 1961-1969.
A visceral, first-person account, based on the book by James R. Hansen, the movie will explore the sacrifices and the cost-on Armstrong and on the nation-of one of the most dangerous missions in history.
The film stars Ryan Gosling, Claire Foy, Jason Clarke, Kyle Chandler, Patrick Fugit, Ciaran Hinds, Ethan Embry, Shea Whigham, Corey Stoll, Pablo Schreiber.
2019 will witness the 50th anniversary of the first Moon landing.
From October 2018 through December 2022, NASA will mark the 50th anniversary of the Apollo Program that landed a dozen Americans on the moon between July 1969 and December 1972. Recently NASA unveiled an official logo to observe these milestone anniversaries at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington.
The Apollo program and the Saturn V rocket – it is still mankind’s finest achievement and we’ll never create anything as magnificent as that ever again.
The Saturn V was developed at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala. It was one of three types of Saturn rockets NASA built. Two smaller rockets, the Saturn I (1) and IB (1b), were used to launch humans into Earth orbit. The Saturn V sent them beyond Earth orbit to the moon. Five F-1 engines were used in the 138-foot-tall S-IC, or first stage, of each Saturn V, which depended on the five-engine cluster for the 7.5 million pounds of thrust needed to lift it from the launch pad. The mighty F-1 remains the most powerful American liquid-fuel rocket engine ever developed. The F-1 still holds the record as the largest single-chamber, single-nozzle liquid fuel engine ever flown.
Yes, there will be other missions to the Moon and eventually to Mars (Orion rockets), but the ships that take people there won’t be as glorious as the mighty Saturn V rockets.
Apollo 11 launched from Cape Kennedy on July 16, 1969, carrying Commander Neil Armstrong, Command Module Pilot Michael Collins and Lunar Module Pilot Edwin “Buzz” Aldrin into an initial Earth-orbit of 114 by 116 miles.
While astronauts Armstrong and Aldrin descended in the Lunar Module “Eagle” to explore the Sea of Tranquility region of the moon, astronaut Collins remained with the Command and Service Modules “Columbia” in lunar orbit.
An estimated 530 million people watched Armstrong’s televised image and heard his voice describe the event as he took “…one small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind” on July 20, 1969.
It’s time for another motion picture to remind audiences of the massive feats people once ventured to and accomplished. The Mercury, Gemini, and Apollo missions were the days of brave heroes.
The exciting and thrilling trailer for FIRST MAN makes the upcoming movie a must-see in IMAX.
To director Damien Chazelle, in order to honor these explorers I respectfully recommend:
1. In the opening sequence, the trailer shows a Saturn V taking off. Those rockets took off very slowly, and the exhaust flame was very narrow and long. What they have done with the trailer is edit in the exhaust of a space shuttle with a much faster take-off, and the exhaust is fanning out wide with lots of smoke. That’s what was fun about watching an Apollo launch – the dramatic slow take off and then it really started picking up speed as it broke through the atmosphere into outer space.
2. As for how this trailer is cut, it shows a lot of scenes about Armstrong’s Gemini flight (which is true). At about the 1:46 mark of this trailer, they start a 6 second countdown, with all the scenery revolving around a Gemini capsule (those scenes looked good), then they say ‘liftoff’, and you see the 5 rocket engines of the 1st stage of the Saturn V roaring, not the two engines of the Titan rocket that launched all of the Gemini’s. If they meant for all of that to be coherent, it wasn’t. If they just want to show random scenes, they could get away with it since it is a trailer, but it will not fly with NASA/Apollo enthusiasts.
3. This first look at the film shows Armstrong flying the X-15. (The pen floating next to him.) The Gemini 8 mission is the flight he took with Dave Scott (who commanded Apollo 15), and the two of them very realistically could have died when some steering thrusters on the capsule did not turn off, and the spacecraft started spinning dangerously fast, to the point where they could have passed out. Neil stayed cool and got things quickly under control, but the mission had to abort immediately after that. The Gemini scenes looked good. The spacesuits looked authentic, so kudos to getting this right.
There are going to be plenty of potential scenes where the music will really add to the experience: around the X-15, the Gemini launch/crisis/splashdown, and of course Apollo 11 launch, lunar landing, liftoff from the moon, splashdown. I’m really looking forward to what Oscar winning composer Justin Hurwitz has in store with his score.
The first trailer for Christopher Nolan’s INTERSTELLAR was masterfully and thoughtfully cut.
“These moments when we dared to aim higher. To break barriers. To reach for the stars.”
At the time I wrote:
Filled with footage of Chuck Yeager’s Bell X-1, the Mercury and Gemini space capsule missions, the Saturn V rocket liftoff to the Moon with the Apollo missions, and the Space Shuttle Atlantis, this superb first trailer really brings home the fact that at one time America’s Space Program was envied and unrivaled. It’s chilling to think that we may never again see the likes of when we made frequent trips to the Moon. There was a time when we had the determination, ability and huge national pride of travelling to our nearest celestial neighbor.
Matthew McConaughey speaks the truth in his voice over – “We lost all that. Perhaps we’ve just forgotten. That we are still Pioneers – we’ve barely begun and that our greatest accomplishments cannot be behind us. Our destiny lies above us”
An additional note: Ron Howard went to great lengths to get things right on APOLLO 13. See the movie launch and the real launch below.
I hope FIRST MAN does the same thing, and just doesn’t edit in stock footage or re-creations of just random footage. Just a few suggestions for a film that has an awards season, October 12, release date.
FIRST MAN is based on the biography First Man: The Life of Neil A. Armstrong.
Armstong passed away at age 82 on August 25, 2012 following complications resulting from cardiovascular procedures.
Photos courtesy of NASA