Film Scouts Reviews

"Apollo 13"

by Eleanor Ringel

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Tom Hanks and director Ron Howard shoot the moon in this surprisingly gripping and supremely entertaining retelling of the moon landing that wasn't. In 1970, less than a year after Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin had walked on the moon,m Apollo 13 is lunar-bound under the command of Jim Lovell(Hanks). His fellow astronauts are Fred Haise (Bill Baxton) and Jack Swigert (Kevin Bacon), a last-minute replacement for Ken Mattingly (Gary Sinise) who's grounded by a measles scare. All goes well until the third day when Lovell tells Houston, they've got "a problem". Howard and his excellent cast make us for get we're watching a foregone conclusion. How? Simple. By making this an actors' movie. For All the techno-jargon bandied around Mission Control, for all the breathtaking shots of a painstakingly recreated lunar module hurtling through the stars, we believe the mission is in trouble because the actors make us believe. Ultimately, the fate of Apollo 13 comes down to one thing: do these guys have the right stuff? Certainly the actors do ~ especially Hanks in space and Ed Harris as the NASA leader on the ground. True, Howard still doesn't know how to do family stuff; the gooey scenes at the Lovell home are Mayberry moments in the midst of a Mission Impossible. But overall, to paraphrase what Lovell says to his colleagues, Gentlemen, it's a privilege flying with you.

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