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Apollo 13

movie reviewmovie reviewmovie review out of 4 Movie Review: Apollo 13

Starring: Tom Hanks, Gary Sinise
Director: Ron Howard
Rated: PG
RunTime: 140 Minutes
Release Date: June 1995
Genres: Action, Drama, Sci-Fi/Fantasy

*Also starring: Ed Harris, Kevin Bacon, Bill Paxton, Kathleen Quinlan, David Andrews, Xander Berkeley, Christian Clemenson, Brett Cullen

Review by Brian Koller
3½ stars out of 4

"Apollo 13" is an intelligent and completely credible movie about the troubled flight to the moon back in 1970. There is surprising tension, despite knowing from history books (or for those old enough, actual memories) that the astronauts all returned home safely.

The astronaut crew is Jim Lovell (Tom Hanks), crew leader and all-around nice guy; Jack Swigert (Kevin Bacon), last minute substitute and skirt chaser who must prove himself to the crew; and Fred Haise (Bill Paxton), who promptly gets sick on the flight with a fever of 104 degrees.

The crew must deal with the disappointment of not landing on the moon, with problems such as sleep deprivation and carbon monoxide poisoning, and the knowledge that another mistake could cost them their lives.

Kathleen Quinlan plays Hanks' wife. Her role is to look beautiful and to worry about her husband. She suffers throughout the film. Jean Speegle Howard plays Hanks' grandmother. She is a stereotype of an elderly person, is given the name Blanch, and her confusion is used to provide comic relief.

Ed Harris, who played John Glenn in "The Right Stuff" (1984), shows up as head of mission control. He gives a fine performance, and has the honor of starring in both major Hollywood films on the American space program.

There are many heroes in "Apollo 13." The astronauts are heroes, of course, but so is the staff of mission control. They are seen sleeping on the floor by their desks and passionately discussing the best methods of getting the astronauts home. As different obstacles present themselves, mission control has to meet the challenge of overcoming them.

"Apollo 13" runs over two hours, is slow-paced, and sometimes technical. These features do not detract from the film as the story needs the length and technospeak to be properly conveyed.

Copyright 1995 Brian Koller

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