Apollo 13 (1995) Review

When the Apollo 13 mission goes terribly wrong when the spacecraft undergoes massive internal damage, NASA must work with the three astronauts to get them back to Earth safely.


This film is based on the true story of the ill-fated 13th Apollo mission which was bound for the moon, astronauts Jim Lovell, Fred Haise and Jack Swigert were scheduled to fly Apollo 14 but everything was changed. Given that the US had already landed on the moon which was the ultimate goal for man to walk on it there was very little interest in this flight which was now seen as a routine. Naturally though when everything goes terribly wrong the general publics interest grows.

Ken Mattingly was supposed to be with them on the mission but when Jack Swigert is called in to replace him last minute it is something he really struggles to deal with. Although he will still play a very big part in the mission without actually leaving Earth. Gene Kranz is the man overseeing everything and in charge from the NASA headquarters and with the issues on board they must think very carefully about what to do next. The trio is led by Jim Lovell and he will do anything to ensure they all survive.

Everything starts off pretty normally and they are enjoying their current life at zero gravity and having a lot of fun with it. Although they have not been made aware that the mission is no longer in the public interest and the filming they are doing is not actually been seen by another other than NASA and their family members. Something that just downright breaks your heart for Jim’s mother Blanch who is sat eagerly waiting in her care home to see her son on TV and in space!

Apollo 13 is a truly fantastic space movie and drama it manages to create an incredible atmosphere and that is something that Ron Howard does in spectacular fashion. Let’s just talk a little bit about the high intensity and incredible nature that this the launch scene, the sounds and the visual effects are truly stunning to make us firmly believe that this rocket is heading off into space. So many of the different things felt so realistic and that was something that gives this film the edge over other space films.

Then we think about the performances which are all so utterly perfect, surely Tom Hanks was the only real choice to take on the character of Jim Lovell? Is amazing kind nature comes across in the role as the man who seriously must not panic. Then you team Hanks with Bill Paxton and Kevin Bacon, all of which excel as the three main characters. Ed Harris is the utter scene stealer though and even picked up a best actor in a supporting role Oscar nomination to just confirm that. The sheer emotion he shows when they find out that they have made it back to earth without any more problems is truly breathtaking. Kathleen Quinlan was also Oscar nominated for her role as Marilyn Lovell, a woman who had to watch with the world as her husband battled for his life.

I’ve watched this film quite a few times over the years and I really do feel it actually gets better with each and every viewing. I have eventually reviewed it as part of the ongoing Best Picture Project on Let’s Go To The Movies, so in that case better late than never!

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