DVD365.net
Apollo 13 (1995) artwork

Apollo 13 (1995)

1st January 2000

"It had been less than a year since man first walked on the moon, but as far as the American public was concerned, Apollo 13 was just another 'routine' space flight - until these words pierced the immense void of space: 'Houston, we have a problem.'"
Tom Hanks, Kevin Bacon, Bill Paxton, Gary Sinise, Ed Harris, Kathleen Quinlan
Suspense/Thriller, Science Fiction, Drama
1
2 Hours 20 Minutes

The opening sequence shows some archive NASA footage (or is it?) of the tragic Apollo 1 accident in which Gus Grissom, Ed White and Roger Chaffee were killed in a fire on the launch pad during a countdown rehearsal. This is narrated by Walter Cronkeit in his inimitable style.

There's party at the Lovell's home, where they are all watching Neil Armstrong on television making history with his "one small step". At this time, Lovell and his crew are slated to go on Apollo 14 in about 18 months. Lovell has already been to the moon and back in Apollo 8, when the first manned orbit of the moon took place.

Due to an ear infection of the commander of Apollo 13, Lovell and his crew are bumped up to prime crew on Apollo 13. Two days before launch, however, backup Lunar Module pilot Charlie Duke is diagnosed to have the German measles, and as command module pilot Ken Mattingly has not had the measles, he is substituted for his backup, Jack Swigert.

We now have the launch sequence, and it really looks like NASA footage, but every bit has been created especially for the film - a real credit to the special effects guys! After a fairly uneventful launch and first stage separation, the crew settles into its daily routine, including a television report for the folks back home.

Upon conclusion of the television transmission, the crew are requested to stir their cryo-tanks (Fuel). Swigert flicks the relevant switches, and the tank stirring begins. A short in one of the oxygen tanks triggers an explosion, damaging the remaining oxygen tank. Apollo 13's infamous problems have just begun!

The crew must evacuate to the Lunar Exploration Module (LEM), but this was only designed to hold two crew, and is a very fragile craft. Also, powering down the Command Module's (CM) systems to conserve power might leave them completely unable to return to Earth...

The computer on board the command module also has to be shut down in order to conserve energy. This is done so fast that all the relevant calculations to transfer navigation to the LEM computer has not been completed when the CM computer is shut down. The carbon dioxide levels in the spacecraft begin to rise to dangerous levels, and a jury-rigged 'mail-box' device has to be built to fit the square CM Carbon dioxide scrubbers into the round holes in the LEM. This results in the Carbon Dioxide levels returning to a normal level within a very short time.

Meanwhile, back on Earth, Ken Mattingly is busy trying to develop ways of restarting the CM computer systems without drawing too much power from the drained batteries on board the spacecraft. A manually-controlled engine burn has to be performed from the LEM in order to get back into the correct Earth re-entry orbit. This is an exciting moment, with the background music being used to good effect.

During their eventual re-entry, because the angle of re-entry is so shallow, the spacecraft is out of communication for longer than the normal three minutes. The whole world is watching and waiting for any communication from the spacecraft. When the call is eventually heard, the Mission Controllers in Houston all cheer, and Maralyn and the rest of the family are extremely relieved. (to say the least!)

A short narrated epilogue is spoken by Tom Hanks, explaining what the three astronauts have done since the space flight. This is spoken over the scenes of the three astronauts being welcomed on board the rescue ship. This movie is real edge-of-the-seat stuff, even though I remember a lot of the incidents, and everyone knows that the crew returns home safely.

The special effects are superb, you really believe that you are watching the real NASA footage for a lot of scenes. Many of the weightless scenes were filmed inside a NASA aircraft used to acclimatise astronauts to weightless conditions. I.e. the actors and crew were in a weightless environment while filming! I think in the 'making of' TV show, Jim Lovell says that the actors spent more time in the weightless environment than most astronauts did.

Despite its comparative lack of extras, I still feel that this film is a 'must' for anyone even slightly interested in manned space flight. Being a child of the Apollo era I might be a little biased here, but what the heck, this is a subjective review anyway! All the main actors and actresses in this file have really captured the mood well. They are believable and you can really feel the anguish Maralyn Lovell is going through, when she fears that she may never see her husband again.

I also liked the fact that Jim Lovell and his wife Maralyn are both featured as 'extras' in the film. Jim Lovell is the Captain on board the recovery aircraft carrier, and his wife, Maralyn is an extra in the launch sequence, just in front of Kathleen Quinlan (Maralyn in the movie).

  • Feature Commentary by director Ron Howard
  • Feature Commentary by Jim and Marian Lovell
  • 'Lost Moon : The triumph of Apollo 13' Documentary
Goats artwork

Goats

DVD10/04/2014

As Ellis prepares to leave Tucson for his freshman year at an East Coast prep school, he also faces separating from his flaky, new age mother and the only real father he has ever known: Goat Man.
Gomorrah artwork

Gomorrah

DVD19/07/2016

Penthouse North artwork

Penthouse North

Blu-Ray04/02/2014

Sightseers artwork

Sightseers

Blu-Ray20/09/2014

Braquo artwork

Braquo

Blu-Ray10/12/2016

Lee Mack  artwork

Lee Mack

DVD10/12/2014

Trust Me artwork

Trust Me

DVD19/09/2017

Starring Jodie Whittaker, the four-part mini-series Trust Me, which recently aired on BBC One, is being released on DVD by StudioCanal on 18th September 2017.
Dan TDM on Tour artwork

Dan TDM on Tour

DVD18/09/2017

Sleepy Hollow artwork

Sleepy Hollow

DVD19/09/2017

Cardinal artwork

Cardinal

DVD19/09/2017

Dead Again in Tombstone artwork

Dead Again in Tombstone

DVDBlu-Ray19/09/2017

Bushwick artwork

Bushwick

DVDBlu-Ray17/09/2017

CSI New York

Review17/10/2005

America's Number One crime drama CSI: Crime Scene Investigation continues its successful expansion by opening up a new office in New York's Big Apple where there's yet more murders to ...

Made in Chelsea

Review07/04/2013

They're back. Expect more drama than ever, some immaculate dressing, plenty of recession free spending and some fabulous destinations in Series 4 of Made in Chelsea.

Fast & Furious 8

News30/08/2017

With an all-star cast, the #1 action film in the world, Fast & Furious 8, goes full-throttle on 4K Ultra HD, Blu-ray and DVD and 16th October 2017, from Universal Pictures (UK).
"Freedom is assassinated by egotism."
Last Tango in Paris (1972)

My Name Is Lenny

DVDBlu-Ray17/09/2017769

Black Sails

DVDBlu-Ray19/09/2017679

Drone

DVDBlu-Ray19/09/2017675

Security

DVD11/09/2017313

Broken City

DVDBlu-Ray18/09/20173401

Fast Girls

DVDBlu-Ray16/09/20171503

The Ghost

DVDBlu-Ray19/09/20171399

Escape Plan

DVDBlu-Ray14/09/20171341

Racing Stripes

DVD12/09/20172203

Austin Powers

DVD19/08/20171278

The Simpsons

DVD08/09/2017762

#TommysHonour available #DVD 30th October by Thunderbird Releasing
DVD365.net

Spark

DVDBlu-Ray15/09/2017

Alien Covenant

DVDBlu-Ray4K UHD23/08/2017

Arrow

DVDBlu-Ray20/07/2017

The Supervet

DVD31/08/2017