<strong>Rating: </strong>5/5Rate this
Time Out saysTwo hundred thousand miles from home, the Apollo 13 astronauts, Jim Lovell (Hanks, highly effective), Fred Haise (Paxton) and Jack Swigert (Bacon, great fun), find that a leaking fuel tank has made a moon landing impossible. Worse, the power drops so low, and the toxic gas levels rise so high, that the mission controllers in Houston fear they may lose their first astronauts in space. Not with Harris's Gene Krantz in charge, they won't! That the rest of the story is a matter of record (they lived) is part of the problem and the interest of the film. Ron Howard's spectacular (arguably reactionary) mega-hit about the 1970 moon-shot sticks so faithfully to the version of events related in Lovell's book Lost Moon, that this may qualify as the most expensive drama-doc ever made. Certainly, the suspense is missing. As a result, Howard has to rig it: the tension comes from communication breakdown, the falling-out among the crew, and the battle on the ground between the boffins and the armed services. Sure, there are thrills and spills: the adrenaline rush of the well-mounted Saturn launch; the too-strange-not-to-be-true trajectory realignment as Bacon goes to manual; the race to fabricate a new filter from spare parts. Nevertheless, the film's low on dramatic scenes; furthermore, for a 'space movie', both the special effects and photography are surprisingly pedestrian. Where it scores is in subtly restating traditional notions of male heroism.