Apollo 13

Released: June 30, 1995
Budget: $65 million
US Box Office: $172 million
Global Box Office: $334 million

Director: Ron Howard
Cast: Tom Hanks, Bill Paxton, Kevin Bacon, Gary Sinise, Ed Harris, Kathleen Quinlan

Synopsis: When a mission to the moon goes wrong it takes everything the NASA engineers and anstronauts have to get them home safely. Based on a true story
Best Quote: "We've never lost an American in space and we're sure as hell not going to lost one on my watch. Failure is not an option."

Review: 3.5 stars

Ron Howard's Apollo 13 is an incredible piece of filmmaking that also happens to be a disaster movie. Its 9 Oscar nominations demonstrate its appeal to all types of audiences, not just fans of the genre.

Just about every actor and actress in the film has either won or been nominated for an Academy Award, so it is no surprise that the acting is superb. With director Howard at the helm, the cast balances humor, tension, fear, and hope in just the right amounts to make this an emotional and gripping experience throughout. There is something about the spaceship/command center dynamic that really has you going through the highs and lows with the guys in Houston.

Since this is a disaster movie website, I should probably discuss the actual disaster a little bit in this review. Thankfully, the true story of the Apollo 13 mission is exciting enough where Howard didn't have to take any serious dramatic licenses with the screenplay. Knowing that you are watching a faithful representation of real events makes the action much more interesting. One thing that makes the effects very strong in this movie is the fact that filmmakers were very realistic with what technology of the time would allow them to do. Mid-nineties green screening was mediocre at best, so they actually put the actors into zero gravity (by means of a diving airplane) for most of the action inside the spacecraft In the instances where they did have to resort to CG, no corners were cut and the result is very polished.

As you can probably tell, I don't really have anything bad to say about this movie. If I had to nitpick, I'd say its length (140 minutes) hurts its rewatchability. Other than that minor complaint, I whole heartedly recommend Apollo 13 as a powerful film about one of the most dramatic real life disasters of all time.