Not technically rocket science
When “First Man,” starring Ryan Gosling, was announced late last year as a film that would rocket onto screens in 2018, I was more than excited. Space films are always super engaging and very, very thrilling – and if they’re based on a true story? You know it’ll be amazing then!
Swiftly falling in line with the likes of “Hidden Figures,” another recent box-office hit focusing on the women who “ran the numbers” behind the moon landing quite literally, “First Man” is the story of Neil Armstrong’s journey to making that “one giant leap” on our planet’s moon in 1969.
Now, I don’t consider myself a historian, nor am I uneducated in the history of our grand nation. However, I never really understood just how long it took for America to get itself on the moon – over an eight-year process, Neil Armstrong pioneered American space travel, ultimately making that out-of-this-world, landmark moment that still stands as one of the greatest achievements in the modern world, a reality.
And, for the record, all these puns are intended.
This film does an amazing job of highlighting the difficulties behind the moon-landing, as well as giving you a personal insight into the life of one of America’s greatest heroes. Neil Armstrong wasn’t just your average man – he was a man who endured tragic circumstances, misfortune, and grief, all to pull himself up by the bootstraps to apply for the NASA program.
There are unspeakable challenges along the way to glory, however. Continually, Neil Armstrong must face the demon of grief as he navigates the treacherous waters of space travel, all why shouldering the burden of beating out the opposing Soviets, who time and again prove to have the upper-hand. It is only after another horrifying loss, and the threat of potentially never reuniting with his family again, that Neil finally understands what makes a man great – it’s not his job, or his accomplishments, or even what he’s known for. It’s something much deeper than that.
What is more powerful, you might ask? No teasers here! You’ll have to watch the film to find out yourself.
Supremely filmed and terrifically acted, this film is a drama at its very core. Gosling does an excellent job of playing a struggling and driven man of vision, and the supporting cast does a spot-on job of really getting you pulled into the story. The visual effects are beautiful, and the soundtrack is one that is not easily topped. That being said, I wouldn’t recommend this film for kids, simply because it is a drama and may be slow to follow for youngsters, and handles some emotionally challenging moments.
Taking away from this film, I realize two things – firstly, that we are an incredibly blessed species. God, in his divine beauty, has allowed us to achieve such wondrous acts that it is mildly terrifying to envision what we are truly capable of as a species. We accomplished what was before thought of as impossible – the stuff of fiction. Ask anyone in the past before 1969 if space travel was even on the horizon of possibility, and you’d get a blastoff of “No!” so loud it might as well be powered with rocket fuel.
Secondly, I learn how incredibly powerful emotions are. Perhaps one of the most amazing things about people, which separates us from other creations, is that we have the ability to convey emotion. This film truly shows me what you can do when you face emotional difficulty and challenges – you can either ignore them, wallow in them, or use them to propel you forward.
Neil struggles with this a little bit, but when he’s on the moon, I think he gets it and realizes that without the loss in his life, he may have never achieved greatness for himself, or his country.
Incredibly tumultuous events surrounded this achievement for us as a people, but with victory comes great sacrifice – I would bet you could ask any relative of Neil Armstrong and they’d tell you that he was the man he came to be because of his circumstances, and his mindset. While it took a little longer to come around, Neil eventually conquered his grief, and laid it to rest thousands of miles away, on the moon which orbits our world so peacefully in the night sky.
This emotional outlet is thanks to God designing us in his own image, which is reflected in the person of Jesus. Anyone who says God doesn’t relate or have emotions, I challenge you to look it up!
Christ himself faced great turmoil in his emotions facing the crucifixion so long ago. He struggled with the idea, asking his Father in heaven to pass the cup from him, if there was any way possible. However, steeling himself to the fact that it was the only way to redeem the world, Jesus did the unthinkable, and shouldered the burden of pain and suffering for the world.
I can only think that his great love and passionate desire for people propelled him forward, not so unlike a rocket bound for a great destiny. None other than God himself could be expected to undertake such a burden as Jesus did, and we have emotions to thank for that – a sacrificial, desperate, and intense emotion for us on Earth.
If emotions can take a man to the moon and redeem the world, what can the circumstances of your life propel you to do? Life can be hard, and scary, and difficult – however, whatever we set our minds to do we can accomplish. What are the circumstances of your life, which have an effect on your emotions, propelling you to do?
It’s not technically rocket science, but maybe it is?