by Allie Vasserman
May 4, 2020
The next movie on our quarantine family movie playlist is the 1995 film Apollo 13, which is directed by Ron Howard and stars Tom Hanks as Jim Lovell, Bill Paxton as Fred Haise, Kevin Bacon as Jack Swigert, Gary Sinise as Ken Mattingly, and Ed Harris as Gene Kranz.
Apollo 13 is based on the actual events of the disastrous 1970 Apollo 13 space shuttle mission, which was unsuccessful in achieving its objective of landing on the moon. In 1969, the United States Space Shuttle Apollo 11 was the first to land on the moon. Buzz Aldrin and Neil Armstrong, astronauts on the space shuttle, were the first people to walk on the moon. Apollo 13 planned to repeat Apollo 11’s mission, and Jim Lovell and Fred Haise intended to walk on the Moon. Unfortunately, there was a problem with the shuttle on its way to the moon, and the three astronauts, Jim Lovell, Fred Haise, and Jack Swigert, found themselves in great danger. They were under intense pressure to do everything in their power to get themselves home safely. The famous line “Houston, we have a problem” is said by Tom Hanks in his role as Lovell when he realizes there is an issue with the space shuttle. Since this is a movie based on actual events, it is not a spoiler to say that the astronauts come home safely. For fans of Easter eggs, Jim Lovell makes a small cameo in this movie as a captain of the United States Ship Iwo Jima.
Once the space shuttle takes off, every scene is shot with suspense, making Apollo 13 captivating and interesting. Even though the audience may know that Apollo 13 has a happy ending, the movie manages to produce a feeling of uncertainty that the astronauts might not make it home. In the beginning, Apollo 13 moves somewhat slowly, but it picks up the pace as soon as the shuttle lifts off. Everything in the movie is based on real-life events, including a scene in which Lovell’s wife accidentally drops her wedding ring down a shower drain.
Throughout the duration of Apollo 13, I could not take my eyes off the screen. I was compelled to watch it to the end. From the moment when the problems began to appear on the space shuttle to the ending, I was literally on the edge of my seat. The actors excel at their roles, and all the characters are portrayed well. The special effects are great, and the CGI, or computer-generated imagery, on the launchpad for a powerful rocket, Saturn V, was especially convincing. Apollo 13 is a great movie for a family movie night, and I definitely recommend watching it.