Apollo 13

"Extraordinary"

Apollo 13 Review


Ron Howard has arrived.

I scarcely know where to start writing about Apollo 13, the long-awaited story of the catastrophic 13th mission of the Apollo space program. I went in expecting a whole lot from Howard and his star-studded cast (Tom Hanks, Gary Sinise, Ed Harris, Kevin Bacon, and Bill Paxton), and they delivered in full, the star being Hanks as usual, who brings his usual strength and subtle forcefulness to the role of Jim Lovell, the 4-time space shot veteran who never managed to set foot on the moon.

The story of Apollo 13 is simple and well-known to many Americans: on April 11, 1970, at 13:13 military time, the Apollo-Saturn 13 spacecraft was launched, carrying a crew of 3 men, bound for America's third landing on the moon. A third moon landing was by then rather blasé to the American public--so dull and common as to not even warrant broadcast on television. On the way to their destination, however, on April 13, an oxygen tank exploded, making a moon landing impossible and the return flight home one of the most grueling experiences imaginable.

The meat of Apollo 13 concerns this return trip: cutting off all the systems to save power and almost freezing to death in an unheated space module, struggling to improvise a carbon dioxide filter to keep from asphyxiating, almost guessing at course corrections thanks to an unusable computer, the newfound media interest that comes along with any tragedy, and the pain that comes with come getting so close to something you just can't have.

Hanks is a latter-day master of expressing this emotion. As they fly by, unable to land, we see Hanks gaze longingly out over the lunar surface he so desperately wants to walk upon. The pain is clearly visible: so near yet so far. The rest of the cast is also superbly matched to their roles (with the notable exception of Kathleen Quinlan as Lovell's wife, who sleepwalks through the film). Harris is terrific as seething flight director Gene Krantz, determined to keep the men alive when everyone else has given up, and Paxton turns in a surprisingly emotional role as Fred Haise, who becomes ill on the mission but pulls through anyway.

Overall, Apollo 13 is one of the best films of the year, right after Shallow Grave. Howard's seamless use of special effects (none of the film is stock footage) blends perfectly with the 1970 kitsch of tie-dyes, metallic gold cars, and Dick Cavett. What he finally delivers is something he's been shooting for during his entire career as a director: a painstakingly detailed, in-depth look at the mission and the people in it, never trivializing their struggle, while generally avoiding sensationalism as well. All the while, Howard manages to entertain.

Apollo 13 gets my blanket recommendation. You know, I was never overly superstitious about the number 13 in the past. If nothing else, this movie has certainly changed that.

"Apollo 13, this is Houston. We don't care about your problem. We're eating tacos."



Facts and Figures

Genre: Action/Adventure

Run time: 140 mins

In Theaters: Friday 30th June 1995

Box Office USA: $1.1M

Box Office Worldwide: $355.2M

Budget: $52M

Distributed by: Universal Pictures

Production compaines: Universal Pictures, Imagine Entertainment

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 4.5 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 95%
Fresh: 80 Rotten: 4

IMDB: 7.6 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director:

Producer:

Starring: as Jim Lovell, as Fred Haise, as Jack Swigert, as Ken Mattingly, as Gene Kranz, as Marilyn Lovell, as Barbara Lovell, Emily Ann Lloyd as Susan Lovell, as Jeffrey Lovell, Max Elliott Slade as Jay Lovell, Jean Speegle Howard as Blanch Lovell, Tracy Reiner as Mary Haise, as Pete Conrad, Michele Little as Jane Conrad, as Deke Slayton, as NASA Director, as Henry Hurt, as Congressman

Also starring: ,

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

Bad Santa 2 Movie Review

Bad Santa 2 Movie Review

The 2003 comedy Bad Santa is a holiday classic that skilfully mixes gross-out humour with...

Allied Movie Review

Allied Movie Review

There's a terrific script at the heart of this World War II thriller, with a...

A United Kingdom Movie Review

A United Kingdom Movie Review

Based on a powerful true story from the late 1940s, this drama is packed with...

Indignation Movie Review

Indignation Movie Review

Philip Roth's layered novels are a challenge for filmmakers (see also 2003's The Human Stain...

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them Movie Review

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them Movie Review

It's been five years since the last Harry Potter movie, and J.K. Rowling has been...

Dog Eat Dog Movie Review

Dog Eat Dog Movie Review

Yet another bonkers thriller starring Nicolas Cage, this trashy crime comedy comes from director Paul...

Iggy Pop - Post Pop Depression: Live At The Royal Albert Hall Movie Review

Iggy Pop - Post Pop Depression: Live At The Royal Albert Hall Movie Review

"Iggy Pop - Post Pop Depression: Live At The Royal Albert Hall" is a DVD...

Advertisement
Arrival Movie Review

Arrival Movie Review

This sci-fi drama has an enjoyably brain-bending plot that leaves the audience almost stunned with...

Elle Movie Review

Elle Movie Review

There's a boldly comical tone to this outrageous thriller that can't help but unnerve audiences...

100 Streets Movie Review

100 Streets Movie Review

A multi-strand drama set in London, this film is very nicely shot and acted, but...

Nocturnal Animals Movie Review

Nocturnal Animals Movie Review

It's been seven years since designer Tom Ford made a splash with his award-winning writing-directing...

The Light Between Oceans Movie Review

The Light Between Oceans Movie Review

With a sweeping, picturesque setting and emotive performances, this dramatic epic will appeal to moviegoers...

The Accountant Movie Review

The Accountant Movie Review

While this slick dramatic thriller plays with some intriguing ideas and themes, it never actually...

Train to Busan Movie Review

Train to Busan Movie Review

Leave it to the Koreans to reinvent the zombie horror movie and put a high-speed...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.