Apollo 13 Dvd

Written by Sarah Provost
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Tom Hanks has a genius for playing Everyman. When, at that fateful moment in Apollo 13, he says, "Houston, we have a problem," the "we" includes everyone in the audience. The technical achievements in this film are amazing, but if we couldn't connect emotionally with Hanks, Kevin Bacon and Bill Paxton as astronauts Jim Lovell, Jack Swigert and Fred Haise, the movie would have no soul.

Based on true events as reported in Jim Lovell's book The Lost Moon, Apollo 13 relates the drama that took place when there was an explosion aboard the 13th moon mission in 1970. The three astronauts were essentially stranded 205,500 miles from earth. If they stay in orbit to wait for rescue, they will freeze to death or suffocate. If they try to re-enter the atmosphere, they have to hit exactly the right angle, or they'll either burn to cinders or bounce off the atmosphere and ricochet into the far reaches of space.

Of course we know that they made it back, but that doesn't make it any less suspenseful as we watch. Tom Hanks has received deserved acclaim, but Paxton and Bacon are underrated actors who bring such humanity to these roles that nail-biting anxiety is the correct response. Gary Sinese as Ken Mattingly, the astronaut who was scrubbed from the mission, and Ed Harris as Gene Krantz at Mission Control bring their masterly acting to crucial secondary roles.

The Lost Moon

If this were just about rescuing stranded astronauts, it would be an excellent adventure movie. But there's more to it. Hanks uses his typical understatement to show us the heartbreak of these men who have just lost their only chance to realize their dream of walking on the moon. Commentary by Lovell himself and his wife Marilyn are among the many excellent extras offered on the DVD.


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