Apollo 13 – Ron Howard (1995)

A while ago I saw a film about Neil Armstrong as the first man on the moon. That was Apollo 11 about which recently a documentary has been made too. As you can guess, Apollo 13 was a later mission.

Bound for the moon too, we mostly follow Jim Lovell (Tom Hanks). Preparations, practising, etc., but also family life is shown, quite like in “First Man”. The launch is pretty far in the beginning of the film. This -of course- is because Apollo 13 was a troubled mission. Still on its way to the moon, there are major problems, so big even that it is doubtful that the crew can return safely.

With the moon landing abandoned quickly, a new mission arises. There is not enough air and most importantly, not enough power and fuel to complete the return flight. In a gripping and realistic way, Howard tells the story of three man living in a small craft with no power and hence, no heating. They have to repair their CO2 filter with duct tape and a sock, the people below are practising return scenarios and try to come up with ways to have just enough power for the return. Where there initially was little interest from the media in the first mission to the moon, when things went bad, the media was all over it. Specialists talking about the unlikelines of a safe return while the family is watching. All is well-done.

Also well-done are the space scenes with for example weightlessness, the -in our contemporary eyes- amateurish equipment and the hardship of the crews above and below. I am quite surprised that the film is as old as it is.

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