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Thread: "First Man"

  1. #1
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    "First Man"

    How does the new film "First Man" about Neil Armstrong compare in technical accuracy and special effects to "Apollo 13" made 23 years ago?

    Does informed astronautical opinion view the omission of a scene of the US flag being planted on the lunar surface as a minor cinematic oversight?

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    Quote Originally Posted by wd40 View Post
    How does the new film "First Man" about Neil Armstrong compare in technical accuracy and special effects to "Apollo 13" made 23 years ago?

    Does informed astronautical opinion view the omission of a scene of the US flag being planted on the lunar surface as a minor cinematic oversight?
    It's not out yet in the States. Oct 12 2018.
    Solfe

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    Quote Originally Posted by wd40 View Post
    ...

    Does informed astronautical opinion view the omission of a scene of the US flag being planted on the lunar surface as a minor cinematic oversight?
    Why, specifically, is that an astronautical concern?
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    Closed pending moderator discussion
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    wd40,

    You asked, by PM, if you could start a thread on this film, and in particular about the flag-planting scene. Both ToSeek and I both told you that a thread about the film was fine, but not to focus on the flag-planting, as it would likely lead to partisan discussions. So what do you do - second sentence you bring up the flag. Don't ask for permission and then ignore the advice that is given to you by moderators and administrators.

    And now the thread is reopened.

    To everyone, please avoid political/partisan discussions.
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  6. #6
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    Chuck Yeager's reviews of this seem to be worthwhile reading...
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    Quote Originally Posted by wd40 View Post
    How does the new film "First Man" about Neil Armstrong compare in technical accuracy and special effects to "Apollo 13" made 23 years ago?

    Does informed astronautical opinion view the omission of a scene of the US flag being planted on the lunar surface as a minor cinematic oversight?
    Well, having read several reviews, I think the answer is "This is a film about Neil Armstrong, not the mission, the flag, the science, etc." From other things I read, Neil Armstrong was going to put up whatever flag he was given. It wasn't a highlight for him, so it got no part in the story told in the film.
    Solfe

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    The trailer has me mildly concerned. The opening scene is a Saturn V launch but the exhaust is from an STS mission. And the producers seem to have use footage of a Saturn V launch taken at pad level but spliced into a sequence related to Gemini 8.

    One area of hope is that the film looks at Armstrong's time in the X-15; to me that program has been almost ignored yet was a major stepping stone to space.

    ETA: And it's quite possible that much of what appears in the trailer never makes it into the final film.

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    Chuck Yeager calls this "A complete Hollywood fabrication."

    Like the Oliver Stone's JFK and that abominable Harvey Milk movie.
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    To this point, "History vs. Hollywood" has mostly good things to say about the accuracy, but maybe the "filler" material is questionable?

    http://www.historyvshollywood.com/reelfaces/first-man/

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    Spoiler warning.



    I finally had a chance to see First Man today (clearly, I'm not an early adopter). I believe it leaves our local theaters tomorrow.

    My overall impression is that it's well-made and mostly faithful to Armstrong but places a heavy focus on his renowned stoicism and how the various deaths around him had an effect on his emotional approach to his work. Since I haven't read the source material for the screenplay I'll have to withhold judgement on how well the film adapted the book. But I can't believe Armstrong was that maudlin for seven years, from the death of his daughter Karen to the landing. Yes, there are scenes of Armstrong smiling and chuckling but they are few.

    Technically the film gets much more right than it gets wrong. My primary complaint was the sounds used in the spacecraft and the X-15. Aurally, I thought I was watching Das Boot in Space. Lots of sounds of straining metal, loud bangs and weird mechanical sounds. When Armstrong uses the reaction controls on the Gemini it sounds like he's driving a truck. I've never read descriptions from the astronauts that their craft made these kinds of noises. One nice audio bit they did get right was the sound of the Titan II fuel pumps spinning up during the launch of Gemini 8. The pumps make a whooping, whining sound which was inserted into the launch sequence (you have to listen for it).

    One near-certain fabrication in the film occurs when Armstrong drops his dead child's bracelet into Little West crater. There is zero evidence that he did so or that he even included the bracelet in his Personal Property Kit. So it's History vs. Hollywood.

    All that said I still liked it, and very much enjoyed the interplay between Armstrong (Gosling), his wife Janet (Claire Foy) and their children. That interaction did more to humanize the man than anything else.

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    Quote Originally Posted by schlaugh View Post
    My primary complaint was the sounds used in the spacecraft and the X-15. Aurally, I thought I was watching Das Boot in Space. Lots of sounds of straining metal, loud bangs and weird mechanical sounds. When Armstrong uses the reaction controls on the Gemini it sounds like he's driving a truck. I've never read descriptions from the astronauts that their craft made these kinds of noises. One nice audio bit they did get right was the sound of the Titan II fuel pumps spinning up during the launch of Gemini 8. The pumps make a whooping, whining sound which was inserted into the launch sequence (you have to listen for it).
    Sounds in space have no place to go, so all spacecraft are noisy inside. This is consistent with what both physicists and astronauts have described.
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    Sure, spacecraft are noisy but what sounded in the film...I dunno. Just doesn’t seem to agree with the descriptions from astronauts. Anyway, I realize it’s artistic license and done to put the viewer in the scene - and I’m ok with that. But...bending sheet metal? Riveting noises?

    I’d be very curious to see the devices and techniques used by the foley artists. They did a heck of a job and I won’t be surprised to see First Man nominated for one the sound Oscars.


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    Last edited by schlaugh; 2018-Nov-09 at 06:06 PM. Reason: typo

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    I would have thought the interior of (then new) craft needed to be less grubby.

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    Quote Originally Posted by publiusr View Post
    I would have thought the interior of (then new) craft needed to be less grubby.
    But it wasn't new, in the sense of being like a new car. Every switch and dial had been tested, retested and tested some more, with panels removed and reattached multiple times - I've read engineers reporting that they had to back off on all the testing they would have liked to do, because they were beginning to push the cycle lifetime for some of the equipment. In effect, these capsules were reaching the end of their lifetime by the time they flew.

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    Were the parts just not designed to last through lots of use (since they didn't need to)?

    Think about commercial aircraft cockpit instrumentalities, used for years on end.
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