First Man: Damien Chazelle

This fantastic movie is sure to give goosebumps to everyone, especially to those fascinated by space and aspiring astronauts. It depicts the journey of NASA towards the exploration of our very own natural satellite in a tough race with the Soviets. When President Kennedy said, ‘Let’s go to the moon,’ it was simply impossible in the 60s. In eight years, NASA and the 400,000 people working for NASA literally invented the rocket, the spaceship that could land on the moon, the space suits, everything invented from scratch. The mission cost about $20 billion.

Cosmic pioneers, Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins are all set for their flight aboard the Apollo 11 mission, little knowing that they were on their way to creating history.

FIRST MAN (2018) • Frame Rated

With the death of their daughter, Karen, an emotional roller coaster begins in the lives of Neil and his wife, Janet. To forget the pain and keep himself occupied, he enrolls himself for NASA’s Apollo mission as a trainee astronaut. His wife, Janet, moves to Houston with her husband and their two young sons, Mark and Rick after Neil is accepted into the Gemini program. She is a strong woman and even forces Neil to explain the perils of his mission to his sons, Mark and Rick to mentally prepare them for the worst as she seems to move through her days in anticipation of widowhood.

The first-manned Apollo mission went through a series of trials and errors. Dangers were faced, including the deaths of astronauts Ed White, Gus Grissom and Roger B. Chaffee during the pre-flight testing. Their deaths register mainly as threats to Neil’s safety and the future happiness of his family. Later, NASA redesigned the hatch and enacted other safety measures, which ensured that the Apollo 11 mission wouldn’t face similar obstacles in space.

Neil is constantly disturbed due to his daughter’s death, his colleagues’ deaths, his under-stress marriage, his daring job and the uncertainty of the mission. After rigorous training and a lot of anticipation, comes the most challenging day, July 21, 1969. Neil and his Crewmates are fitted into their astronaut suits and experience bone-rattling vibrations during take-off. They study the instrument panels in front of them along with processing instructions by mission control, knowing that a wrong move could mean their end.

Three days post-launch, Apollo 11 enters the lunar orbit. Armstrong and Aldrin undock in the Lunar Module Eagle and begin to land. After the landing site terrain turns out to be much rougher than expected, forcing Armstrong to take manual control of the spacecraft, he lands Eagle successfully at Tranquility Base. In the meantime, the craft was running low on fuel, meaning there was a possibility the astronauts would have to abort the mission, but it was a manageable event. Therefore, making his much-awaited step on moon and uttering his famous line, “That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.”

Then, as a memory that would live forever, he drops his most priced possession, his daughter’s bracelet into one of the craters. After their journey back to earth, they are kept in quarantine in a fear of contracting any kind of space virus.

The fact that he accepted the mission showed his immense trust in NASA even after a few accidents and his feat concludes that dreams do come true.

Dhriti

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