Sunday, June 12, 2011

Movie of the Week

This week,

APOLLO 13 (1995)

Starring- Tom Hanks, Kevin Bacon, Gary Sinise, Ed Harris, Bill Paxton

While this film has been lampooned and referenced for its now famous quote, "Houston, we have a problem," it is so much more than that one moment. Ron Howard's space drama is a riveting trip back in time that keeps you on the edge of your seat- even when you know the outcome. Despite being a bit technical, Apollo 13 gives you a great inside look at one of the pivotal moments in NASA history. Bored with moon missions, the American public only turns on their TVs when an accident puts the mission and the lives of the three main characters in danger.

Hanks is his usual steady self as mission commander, Jim Lovell. Hanks was actually so taken with his role that he went on to co-produce the series From the Earth to the Moon, an HBO series that picks up where Apollo 13 leaves off. Alongside Lovell are pilot and ladies' man Jack Swigert (Bacon) and family man Fred Haise (Paxton). The chemistry between these veteran actors is what drives the film as they try to avert disaster in their space capsule. Howard does a masterful job in giving his film pageantry, importance and tension in all the right spots. Going to the moon is a big deal, and we know it after watching this film.

What many praise the film for is its technical accuracy. Howard and the actors spent a great deal of time making sure that this film was as close to real as possible. It would have been easy to Hollywoodize this film and ratchet up the drama even more, and while there are a few liberties taken, they aren't enough to derail the real story. I can always watch this film when it comes on because it is part riveting human drama and part history lesson. It also gives anyone who has ever been interested in space a reason to hope that we will continue to explore and discover new frontiers.

Things to watch for-

Ron's brother, Clint Howard
Neil and Buzz
Ed Harris' awesome crew cut
The 'Spirit in the Sky'
Mount Marilyn

"We've never lost an American in space, we're sure as hell not gonna lose one on my watch."

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