Apollo 13 (1995)

Director Ron Howard makes nice, fuzzy movies like BACKDRAFT and THE 
PAPER.  They're "human" films, with an emphasis on gung-ho over grit.  
Case in point:  the absorbing APOLLO 13, which recounts the real-life 
problems of a 1970 moon shot that left three astronauts (played by Tom 
Hanks, Bill Paxton, and Kevin Bacon) stranded in space.  Though a bit 
too much in places, the story of how NASA "got its boys back home" 
contains some of the best drama that you're likely to see this year.

The core story, with its fine acting and great special effects, is the 
draw.  The central characters could be a bit more human-- THE RIGHT 
STUFF is still a better portrait -- or, at very least, Bill Paxton 
could've cried "we're all gonna die, man!"  (There is one, good in-joke:  
Roger Corman has a cameo as a congressman.)  If the three guys in the
capsule don't have much in the way of personality, said deficiency never
gets in the way of the action.  Watching the NASA guys on the ground 
(spearheaded by a cool Ed Harris) put their brains to work gives fresh 
meaning to the phrase "old-fashioned American ingenuity." 

The rest of APOLLO 13 is all overdone, of course, with Kathleen Quinlan 
(as Hanks' astronaut's wife) spending most of the film looking dis- 
tressed, as James Horner's string-section tries very hard to overpower 
the DTS Digital sound effects. 

ITO NOTE:  Speaking of O.J., a great, related video pick is CAPRICORN 
           ONE (1978), the story of a faked Mars mission and the gov-
           ernment conspiracy behind it.  Guilty/not-guilty starred    
           alongside Elliot Gould, James Brolin, Hal Holbrook, Sam 
           Waterston, and Telly Savalas flying a biplane. Check it out.

BOTTOM LINE:  A blast.

Grade: B+
Copyright 1995 by Michael J. Legeros

Originally posted to triangle.movies

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