My Favorite Movies #48 – Apollo 13

Apollo 13 - PosterApollo 13


Directed by Ron Howard

Quick Synopsis… Technical troubles scuttle the Apollo 13 lunar mission in 1971, risking the lives of astronaut Jim Lovell and his crew in director Ron Howard’s chronicle of this true-life story, which turns a failed journey into a thrilling saga of heroism.

  • This movie is based on actual events.
  • I’ve never looked into the actual events surrounding Jim Lovell and the Apollo 13 mission.
  • So I can only assume that this movie is mostly accurate with obvious creative liberties taken here and there.
  • Anyone out there a NASA scholar who can fill me in on how much of the movie is factual? Let me know in the comments.
  • The movie opens up on the night that man first walked on the moon.
  • If you’re interested, that guy’s story is chronicled in the movie, First Man, which I saw around this time last year.
  • I remember thinking, as I watched First Man, that it felt like a prequel to Apollo 13.
  • It wasn’t.
  • Not really, anyway.
  • So the movie pretty much has us going with the idea that everything that could go wrong with the mission does.
  • That’s probably a gross overstatement.
  • I’m sure there’s a lot that could go wrong on a space flight.
  • So many moving parts… so many people involved… and everything has to go right or people die.
  • That’s probably only a slight overstatement.
  • But to say that NASA has had its share of tragedies in the 61 years it’s existed would be an understatement.
  • I’m using too many italicized and bolded words.
  • I’ll stop.
  • But here’s a spoiler for you… All three Apollo 13 astronauts survived the ordeal.
  • They didn’t get to walk on the moon as was planned, but they got back home.
  • Here’s a question that really has nothing to do with the movie…
  • What was NASA attempting to accomplish with multiple manned missions to the moon?
  • I get Apollo 11 and the lead up to it.
  • We were in a race with the Soviets to put a man on the moon first.
  • Everything’s a competition on the global stage. And we won that particular race.
  • Neil and Buzz hopped around on the lunar surface for all the world to see.
  • I assume they brought back some lunar soil and moon rocks for study.
  • Beyond that, what’s the point of going to the moon?
  • Unless there’s a plan to somehow colonize the thing.
  • And isn’t that part the plan at this point? Build some kind of base on the moon from which we can eventually launch a manned mission to Mars?
  • I think I heard there’s a plan to return to the moon in 2024.
  • But don’t take my word for it. There’s a very good chance I’m wrong about that and it’s merely the plot of an elaborate science fiction story.
  • But what else is there to do on the moon?
  • By the time Apollo 13 came along, space flight was almost routine.
  • No one was excited about another crew of astronauts going to the moon.
  • At least, they weren’t excited until things started going wrong.
  • Soon after the launch, Fred (Bill Paxton) throws up.
  • When Jim (Tom Hanks) and Jack (Kevin Bacon) get ready to eat, Fred insists that he not only feels fine, but he’s hungry.
  • His exact words are, “I could eat the ass out of a rhinoceros.”
  • No wonder you’re throwing up, Fred. You’re eating rhino anus.
  • It all goes wrong when Houston asks Jack to stir the oxygen tanks.
  • Then there’s an explosion, oxygen starts venting into space… no way landing on the moon is an option anymore.
  • So the mission quickly becomes get them home alive.
  • Like I said before… the spoiler is they succeed in that particular mission.

True life space stories not your thing? Well, if you like movies that will pretty much make you cry every time you see it, come back next week.


3 thoughts on “My Favorite Movies #48 – Apollo 13

  1. You raised a good point. Why did we go back. Or in this case, try to go back. From what I heard they are lucky they made it back. So many things happened but it could have been worse. The movie was great. Of course I’m a huge Hanks fan so that probably had a lot to do with it.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I was reading up on the production and apparently, before Ron Howard was on board to direct, they wanted Kevin Costner. Not sure whose call that was. I like Costner, but I think we’d have gotten a different movie with him as Lovell.


  2. Pingback: My Top 100 Movies | The Confusing Middle

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