Apollo 13 (1995)





Tom Hanks, Kevin Bacon, Bill Paxton, Gary Sinise, Ed Harris, Kathleen Quinlan, Chris Ellis, Joe Spano, Marc McClure, Clint Howard, Ray McKinnon, Todd Louiso, Loren Dean, Xander Berkeley, David Andrews, Christian Clemenson, Ben Marley, Brett Cullen, Ned Vaughn, Tracy Reiner, Mary Kate Schellhardt, Max Elliott Slade, Emily Ann Lloyd, Miko Hughes, Thom Barry, Rance Howard, Jean Speegle Howard


Based on the true story of the 13th Apollo mission, astronaut Jim Lovell (Tom Hanks) leads command module pilot Jack Swigert (Kevin Bacon) and lunar module driver Fred Haise (Bill Paxton) on what is slated as NASA's third lunar landing mission. All goes smoothly until the craft is halfway through its mission, when an exploding oxygen tank threatens the crew's oxygen and power supplies. 


Houston, I have a problem. I did not like this film as much as I would have. I'd like to start by saying that I did not know what happened back in 1970 in the space, and while a part of me was feeling ashamed for being such an ignorant, the other part was happy because in this way the film would have been way more exciting. But I guess there is no worst way to kill tension than opening the film saying, "Based on Jim Lovell and Jeffrey Kluger's book 'Lost Moon: The Perilous Voyage of Apollo 13'" when it's pretty clear Jim Lovell is going to be the main character - unless he wrote the book while he was exhausted on the Apollo 13, and he somehow managed to send it back to the earth, the result is pretty obvious.

Unfortunately this is not my only complain. Apollo 13 is extremely dull for the first 30 minutes of the film - revolving around Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin landing on the moon, and our astronauts preparing for their mission -, and even though it gets back on track after that, and it minimally manages to engage the audience and make them feel some empathy for the astronauts, it is overfilled with sentimentality.

Ron Howard does a pretty good job, and tells the story in a very accurate way, but, as I pointed out before, he linger on emotional scenes with the astronaut's family members and friends, that seems shallow, unnecessary and put there just to fill some time.

However, the editing is brilliant and perfectly manages to show at the same time both the difficulty encountered by the astronauts and their will to survive, and the efforts made by the base of the NASA to bring the guys back home. The musical score by James Horner is spectacular, and so are the visual effects.

The acting is great. Tom Hanks does a job, even though he is not much believable as an astronaut. Ed Harris excels as Gene Kranz. Great performances also come from Gary Sinise, an actor I like, Kevin Bacon, and Bill Paxton respectively as Ken Mattingly, Jack Swigert, and Fred Haise. Kathleen Quinlan is also very good as Jim Lovell's wife.


Gene Kranz: I don't care about what anything was designed to do, I care about what it can do.

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