THE problem with documentaries made in your honour and absence by your nearest and dearest is the reluctance to dwell on what they consider to be the more distasteful elements of your story, of course these often being them most interesting and human parts of the whole damn thing.
Armstrong is no exception. In it we hear all about nose push down and velocity and how he moved away from attention etc, but nothing more than the merest mention regarding the death of his daughter, whether the rumour of his tribute to her on the Moon’s surface is true, or his subsequent marriage breakdown.
Whilst it’s clearly one of the most important events in humanity, if not THE biggest achievement ever witnessed – the films celebrating Apollo 11’s 50th Anniversary are leaving me feeling slightly fatigued, coming only a fortnight after the stupendous Apollo 11 documentary, which contained a plethora of never-before-seen footage.
We also had First Man, Damien Chazelle’s Oscar nominated biopic on Neil Armstrong, based on his only authorised biography. Yet here we have a gentle documentary on the man himself, completing a trilogy I’m not sure needed completing.
It’s perfectly fun to watch, hearing from colleagues, family members and narrator Harrison Ford (reading Armstrong’s diary entries), but if we know one thing about Neil Armstrong it’s that whilst hero and world-changer he most certainly was, sardonic and brimming with interesting anecdotes he is not.
That’s not meaning to do the great man a disservice – I merely felt his story (and in reality the bigger moon landing story) has been covered in better ways. I didn’t feel I learnt anything new about a man who didn’t care for me learning much about him in the first place.