April 26, 2024

ARMSTRONG: Quite the Life

2019 / 100 min
Available at www.MovieZyng.com
Review by Pepper the Poopy😺

If you know nothing about the first man to set foot on the moon, this is a great documentary. Since I’m among the ignorant, I really enjoyed Armstrong.

The film affectionately chronicles Neil Armstrong’s life from his humble upbringing in Wapakoneta, Ohio to his death in 2012 at 82. After a succinct summary of his childhood - and fascination with airplanes - the focus segues to his Korean War combat fighter experience and eventual career as a test pilot. It’s during this time he meets and marries his first wife, Janet (who’s interviewed extensively).

But the meat of the movie is Armstrong’s time at NASA. Beginning in the fledgling space program, he eventually becomes part of Project Gemini, during which time his skills help to avoid a catastrophic disaster during a space mission (I had no idea). Of course, the Apollo 11 mission and moonwalk are covered and discussed in the most detail. Even though we’ve all seen and heard it a million times, the event is made more interesting by numerous anecdotes and comments from those who were involved.

Of all his accomplishements, Neil is most proud of his piercings.
Speaking of which, Armstrong features dozens of interviews with friends, fellow aviators & astronauts, as well as family members, including his two sons. Nearly all of them describe him as a smart, selfless and relatively quiet man who didn’t particularly enjoy the limelight. The only time the film approaches depicting Armstrong negatively is when Janet explains why she eventually divorced him. And even then, there’s no scandal or dirt…he was simply married to his work. 

Director David Fairhead does a fine job combining new and vintage footage to tell an engaging story rather than just an academic account. Armstrong’s own words are given a bit of dramatic oomph from Harrison Ford, while the affecting music score renders everything a bit more awe inspiring. As someone who knew nothing about Neil Armstrong beyond his lunar footprint, I found his life quite interesting.


FEATURETTES - In Gemini 8 Capsule, director David Fairhead gets to film in and around the spacecraft used by Neil Armstrong; Flight of Fancy goes behind the scenes of the song that plays over the end credits, which was written by Neil’s son.



No comments: