By John Brown, published 04/05/02
The movie I watched was Apollo 13, which was of course based on the problematic Apollo 13 mission. It starred Tom Hanks, who played Jim Lovell, Bill Paxton, who played Fred Haise, and Kevin Bacon, who played Jack Swigert. The movie was entertaining, and prety accurate.
The movie began with President John F. Kennedy's historic challenge to put a man on the moon by 1970. It also showed footage of Apollo 11 landing on the moon, and the tragic events of a previous mission when astronauts were killed in a fire.
The story line started out by announcing that Jim Lovell would be leading the mission. It also turn out that America was losing interest in the moon landing, in fact, many networks didn't even carry the broadcast! This was hard to believe when only a year earlier, Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldren had first set foot on the moon. Still, the astronauts were understandable excited, as were their families.
Some of their children were even apathetic about the mission, the daughter seemed more interested in the breakup of the Beetles. Everyone's disinterest came to an end when Jim Lovell cut through space with his now famous words: "Houston, we have a problem." After that the entire world took notice.
On the mission's power and guidance systems inexplicably go down. Also, and even more terrifying, their oxygen systems begin to dwindle after a tank explodes. Without these factors, they are forced to abort the moon landing and return to Earth, much to the chagrin of the astronauts.
The astronauts try diligently to fix the problems, but nothing works, so they are forced to return after flying by the dark side of the moon. The movie now becomes a drama, as everyone is worried about whether or not the astronauts would make it home safely. All the jokes about lack of interest disappear, as everyone hopes and prays it will return safely.
The movie has three main themes: the struggle of the astronauts aboard, the stress of the experts at Mission Control, and the trauma of the families of the astronauts. All are handled very well.
One of the best things about the movie is that it's a simple adventure into outer space. It does a good job of keeping the drama alive, even though everyone knows how it will end.
As the astronauts fly by the moon, they feel mixed emotions. They are afraid that they may not make it home safe, but they are also sad that they didn't get to land on the moon.
Of course, they do make it home safely, and everyone turns out all right, except for their disappointment that they didn't get to walk on the moon. At this point, however, they are more happy to be safely with their families than they would have been to have seen the moon. Ken Mattingly, the person who was originally slated to be onboard, but can't due to medical reasons, plays an important role is the rescue.
This movie was pretty historically accurate, I didn't see anything that contradicted what really happened. Though I'm sure it was dramatized to a certain point, as all movies are, but it was very accurate, probably one of the most historically accurate movies I have ever seen. It seems more like science fiction at times, but the acting is handled very well. The special effects are good, but do not upstage the acting. I would recommend this movie to anyone who enjoys history or movies in general.