movie time

Movie time! We watched two movies in the past two days: A Wrinkle In Time just last night, and First Man on Friday evening.

After an afternoon spent at the office picnic, we were in the mood to stay in and watch something in the warmth & comfort of our living room, so I clicked on the first episode of The Romanoffs, because I’ve seen good reviews of it online. Watched about twenty minutes of it before deciding it just wasn’t for me.

After five or ten minutes of scrolling through the new movies, we settled on Lady Bird, because, again, it got a lot of good press and I think we even heard from some people we knew who liked it, although I couldn’t say right now who said that or if they did. I stuck with Lady Bird for about twenty minutes before I announced, “I’m out,” and started gathering my things up to go to another room.

“Yeah, it’s just not doing it for me, either,” My Darling B said.

So I shut off the TV but My Darling B asked for the remote. She scrolled for maybe another five minutes before clicking on A Wrinkle In Time.

We watched it all the way through, although I sat for the whole thing mostly out of stubbornness. I can’t say I’d recommend it. It looked great, meaning the production values were obviously unlimited. I can’t fault it for looks at all. And the talent was great, too, although I have to say I thought the actors weren’t given much to work with. I thought the dialogue was stilted, disjointed. The scenes didn’t seem connected to one another. There wasn’t much of a flow. And the plot was rudimentary: Daughter goes searching for her lost father with the help of her brilliant brother. Love conquers all. But honestly, I didn’t see a whole lotta love between the characters, other than a few tropes, like sister punches mouthy girl who insults brother. And when daughter finally finds father in the farthest reaches of the universe, father does something so heinous, but daughter forgives him because, I guess, love conquers all. I just didn’t feel it. One star.

First Man is a film based on the biography by James R. Hansen of astronaut Neil Armstrong. I read the book a few years ago and liked it a lot, but when I heard about a year ago it would be the basis of a film, I boggled at the idea of how exactly they would do that. The book is exhaustively detailed. Condensing Armstrong’s life into a two-hour movie would require a Herculean effort.

First Man is not your typical “astronaut conquering space” movie. If you expect to see something like Apollo 13 or The Martian, you might go away disappointed. I thought it was great at showing how well Armstrong met the challenge of what turned out to be a monumentally daunting job, while at the same time dealing with the personal conflicts of friends and family. I’d recommend it. Four stars. I’d give it five, but anybody who knows what a space geek I am wouldn’t take that seriously. Four seems realistic.

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