I know what you mean but (I think) its not really an "astronaut" film its a drama about an intoverted guy who has lost his daughter and happens to have an unusual job. He is certainly nowhere near Tom Hanks Jim Lovell, explaining how the mission will proceed to his son and describing the LEM as a "spidery looking guy".I bought a Bluray copy of the movie “The First Man”, which was purportedly the story of the first moon landing told from Neil Armstrong’s perspective. I was rather disappointed in it however, as it depicts Neil Armstrong as rather a dull dog not prone to showing much emotion at all. You would think that a guy who had had the opportunity to travel to the moon (something that had never been done before) and come back alive at the end, would have had more to say about the experience. Apparently not if you believe the story line as put forward in this movie.
It was shot from the inside of the cabin too, in whatever vehicle that Neil Armstrong was riding in, be it the cockpit of the X-15 rocket plane, Gemini 8, the Flying Bedstead trainer, or Apollo 11. Not much of a view of outside surroundings and a darkly lit interior jumble of control panels and flashing lights. It wasn’t impressive as the Tom Hanks miniseries, “From The Earth to the Moon” (1998_) was, and didn’t show much of early space hardware that NASA spent so much money on developing (and that Tom Hanks showcased in the miniseries).
The movie starts with a flight that Neil Armstrong had made in the X-15 rocket plane in the late 1950s or very early 1960s. He had apparently driven the X-15 to such a height that he was above the atmosphere, or most of it, and there was a very real risk of him being unable to return to the Earth as he would bounce off the atmosphere if he attempted a re-entry. He figured a way out of his dilemma however by using jets of gas vented to the outside that forced his plane into a steep dive to a lower altitude where his flying controls would work again. When he got back down on the ground again, the most he could muster to say about his near-death experience was “I’m alright.” Test pilots are supposed to have nerves of steel and quick to plan ways to get out of difficult situations, but it beggars belief that they wouldn’t manage at least one wipe of a sweaty brow and managing to exhale a loud “Whew!” after a particularly harrowing experience.
I don't know. Maybe Neil Armstrong was dull as ditchwater and not demonstrative in real life; I never met the man, but it beggers belief that he could have been so cold and stone-like as exhibited in this movie.
How much has been written in and out is a subject I'd like to see addressed. For instance, after the "family meeting" when the kids go off to bed the eldest boy solemnly shakes his Fathers hand as if to say "I'll do my best to be the man of the house if you don't come back." Its one of the few moments where Armstrong is shown to be unsettled. I have read somwhere that the son has subsequently said that he had no doubts at any stage his Dad would come back so I wonder how much that scene is based in reality.
I know what you mean about stuff being dark and jumbled but there are moments which are just beautiful. When I saw the point of view shot of the "air molecule" leaving the LEM as they opened the hatch I wished I gone to an IMAX cinema. Equally the shot of Ed White walking back to his house across the darkened road with the stationary childs swing hanging from the tree looks like it was animated by Disney in the "Snow White" era.