A movie is set to be released this fall about astronaut Neil Armstrong and his historic moon landing. But already the movie is drawing criticism, as it does not include a scene of Armstrong planting the American flag on the moon – one of the most-recognized moments in history.
And now, one of the original mission’s astronauts has lashed out.
Buzz Aldrin, 88, who was the second member of the 1969 Apollo 11 mission to step on the moon, tweeted images of the historical mission and planting of the American flag on the moon, accompanied by a hashtag expressing his American pride, Fox News reported Monday.
— Buzz Aldrin (@TheRealBuzz) September 3, 2018
Aldrin tweeted the photos Sunday, a day after sharing photos of himself in a T-shirt featuring an image depicting an astronaut planting the American flag on Mars.
Additionally, he retweeted a fan photo of himself saluting one of the historical flag-planting images.
— Pir8lksat40 (@pir8lksat40) July 22, 2018
Aldrin’s social media activity follows the controversial movie “First Man” in its depiction of Neil Armstrong, played by Ryan Gosling, in his steps as the first man on the moon. Armstrong died in 2012 at the age of 82.
The movie, however, left out the infamous planting of the American flag on the moon’s surface.
Gosling defended the decision despite the widespread criticism.
“I think this was widely regarded in the end as a human achievement [and] that’s how we chose to view it,” he told reporters.
“I also think Neil was extremely humble, as were many of these astronauts, and time and time again he deferred the focus from himself to the 400,000 people who made the mission possible,” he added.
The film’s director, Damien Chazelle, also defended the decision.
“The flag being physically planted into the surface is one of several moments of the Apollo 11 lunar EVA [extravehicular activity] that I chose not to focus upon,” he said.
“To address the question of whether this was a political statement, the answer is no. My goal with this movie was to share with audiences the unseen, unknown aspects of America’s mission to the moon — particularly Neil Armstrong’s personal saga and what he may have been thinking and feeling during those famous few hours,” Chazelle added.
Sen. Marco Rubio harshly criticized the decision, tweeting: “This is total lunacy. And a disservice at a time when our people need reminders of what we can achieve when we work together. The American people paid for that mission, on rockets built by Americans, with American technology & carrying American astronauts. It wasn’t a U.N. mission.”
This is total lunacy. And a disservice at a time when our people need reminders of what we can achieve when we work together. The American people paid for that mission,on rockets built by Americans,with American technology & carrying American astronauts. It wasn’t a UN mission. https://t.co/eGwBq7hj8C
— Marco Rubio (@marcorubio) August 31, 2018
Armstrong’s sons, Rick and Mark Armstrong, released a joint statement with biographer James Hansen, which read, “This story is human and it is universal. Of course, it celebrates an America achievement. It also celebrates an achievement ‘for all mankind.’ ”
“The filmmakers chose to focus on Neil looking back at the earth, his walk to Little West Crater, his unique, personal experience of completing this journey, a journey that has seen so many incredible highs and devastating lows,” the statement added.
The filmmakers say the movie does include shots of the American flag on the moon, but chose to focus on Armstrong instead of including the historic flag-planting moment.
The movie will be released to theaters on Oct. 12.