First Man Blu-ray review

Jan 21, 2019- Permalink

When I saw First Man at the 2018 Toronto International Film Festival, I was blown away. I thought director Damien Chazelle and his effects and sound teams captured every nut and bolt and bone-rattling moment of the launches and the claustrophobic confines of the barebones spacecraft that first took men to the moon. Meanwhile, I thought the cast — led by Ryan Gosling and Claire Foy — captured the spirit of the space explorers and their families. With the 4K UHD and Bu-ray release, you can now take the space race home with you. I had a chance to preview the Blu-ray edition.

The 1080p AVC-encoded transfer is presented in an aspect ratio of 2.39:1, though the scenes on the moon change to a 1.78:1 ratio. First Man was shot on film and it’s the perfect medium as the grain and colour palette remind us of the TV and documentary footage of the time. The clarity and textural nuances are amazing, from the facial details of the actors to the spacecraft surfaces and clothing. Skin tones are accurate and the contrast and black levels are great, with good shadow detail. This is a first-rate Blu-ray transfer.

On the audio side of things, your ears are given the choice of English Dolby Atmos and Dolby TrueHD 7.1, tracks as well as Spanish and French Dolby Digital Plus 7.1 tracks. Subtitles are available in English SDH, Spanish and French. Aside from undergoing months of NASA training, the soundtrack is probably the closest thing to immersing you in the experience, with the surround channel enveloping you in every rattle, creak, stress moan and rumble of the spacecraft as the massive rocket engines rip the astronauts from the pull of Earth’s gravity. Dialogue is crisp and clearly presented.

Aside from a DVD copy and a digital download code, the disc also includes deleted scenes, audio commentary and a selection of short featurettes looking at the history of the Neil Armstrong and the production magic that went into presenting his story.

A stellar audio and video presentation, great performances from Ryan Gosling and Claire Foy, and a production that puts you in the middle of the action all add up to a reason why First Man should be part of your home video library.