Sunday, 14 April 2013

Apollo 13 (1995) – ★★★½

Director: Ron Howard
Writers: Jim Lovell, Jeffrey Kluger (Book), William Broyles Jr, Al Reinert (Screenplay)
Stars: Tom Hanks, Kevin Bacon, Bill Paxton, Gary Sinise, Ed Harris, Kathleen Quinlan

Apollo 13 is a thrilling film with solid performances, a nerve-wracking true story, and beautiful music and cinematography. The ending didn’t quite pull at my heartstrings, but the journey that these three men went on did. Their ordeal got to me, especially through Tom Hanks’ character. It’s overly long, but enjoyable.

It’s the true story of Apollo 13, the spacecraft flown by three astronauts not long after Neil Armstrong landed on the moon. Everything that could have gone wrong, did go wrong with the ship. The three astronauts (Hanks, Bacon, Paxton) must try everything possible in order to survive the journey home.

There are some nail-biting scenes in this movie, addressing issues such as Carbon-Dioxide levels rising too high, and the temperature falling so low that the condensation turned to ice. The cinematography and the music also add a very exciting atmosphere to these scenes. It truly makes you feel like you’re there with these men. Sometimes they had to hold their breath, and I found myself holding my breath with them.

One thing Apollo 13 has no shortage of is melodrama. Much of it is very touching, such as Hanks’ character fantasizing about walking on the moon (something he soon learns that he will never do). What makes the movie so emotional is the thought that they will never return home. I was more sad in the middle of the film than I was when it was finished.

Although I liked this film on many levels, it wasn’t absolutely amazing. The special effects were no better than that of 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968). It’s not that Apollo 13 had an uninteresting story, it’s just that it was not enough to sustain suspense and emotion for over two hours. So yes, I was a little bored at times.

Overall, I thought it was a solid film. Sometimes it was cheesy and sweet, other times it was a nail-biting thriller. It’s thoroughly enjoyable.

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