Ever since I finished watching First Man in the IMAX theater, one piece of music will not leave my mind: the music for “The Landing.” While a more thorough soundtrack review is likely coming in the near future, I’d like to highlight this piece in its own article because it is that good.
“The Landing” comes at what I feel is the true climax of the film; this is the moment we’ve been waiting for since the film started, watching Neil (Ryan Gosling) and Buzz (Corey Stoll) land on the moon. From the moment the LM (Lunar Module) detaches to head down to the surface, a melodic ostinato begins to play (an ostinato is a relatively brief melody that repeats over and over again). Remember in my review of the film how I said parts of First Man reminded me of Interstellar? This scene is one such example, as I saw a definite similarity to the docking scene in “No Time For Caution.” Both scenes have music with a repeating melody that also serves to ramp up the tension as the scene moves forward. In First Man, even though it’s the same notes, Justin Hurwitz subtly alters the theme by making it louder; emphasizing certain notes; interweaving horns and inserting an overlaying melody that comes and goes; with the effect that as the LM comes closer and closer to the surface, you are subconsciously inching to the edge of your seat, driven on by the music you’re hearing.
With the landing scene itself, I really like how, in the latter part, the camera flips back and forth between Neil, the surface and the gauge marking how much fuel is left. Working with the music, all of those elements together make for a riveting scene that is one of the best in the film.
What did you think of the landing scene in First Man? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below and have a great day!
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