Ron Howard (1995, Universal Pictures)
Starring Tom Hanks, Gary Sinese, Kevin Bacon, and Ed Harris
Three astronauts face death on the way to the moon, as ground
controllers try to get them back.
March 24th, 2017 on
DVD for the 5th time
It seems unfortunate that the only
disaster journey to the moon is also the one that has the most dramatic
effect, so that it could be made into a blockbuster movie. But that
being said, the heroic efforts by the people on the ground, as well as
the cinematic magic that made it into a story worth telling in this way,
are so worthy of the tribute given here that I'm so glad they did. I
showed this movie to my younger son to introduce him to the moon, and
the way man went to the moon. It's an inspiring movie, for an inspiring
March 4th, 2012 on
DVD for the 4th time
Fully engaging, and well presented,
the music alone made emotions swing from one end of the spectrum to the
other. The story itself bears remembering, of how people trained to
handle adversity can come together and handle the kind of stress they
never even dreamed of experiencing. There is so much to like about this
film, and so much good story to it. I wonder how much negative thinking
was actually going on in the control room -too much was shown on screen,
for sure. I liked the way Gene Krantz told off anybody who thought the
mission was going to end in failure. His character was depicted
January 19th, 2003
on DVD for the 3rd time
This movie is truly a great account of
what went on during those days of a damaged spacecraft just after the
height of the Moon program. It has great characters, amazing effects,
and a great story to tell.
In fact, this movie is just a snapshot of what the astronauts had to go
through, since their trials were even worse than depicted in this movie.
I've seen nit-pickers tear the movie apart, but I wonder why. It gets so
many of the details right, and it must be expected that some things
would be changed to suit the dramatic purposes of dramatization.
The only character that I thought could have used some work was Marilyn
Lovell. Although she had much of the strength and courage that I would
expect from that character, I also felt that something was missing. That
isn't to say that she didn't have some great moments. She seems to chew
the PR guy up terrifically every time they meet.
The movie really focuses on how this disaster affects the people
involved. In that way, it's great that it starts so early, before Lovell
is even assigned to the flight. We are allowed to experience his ability
as a PR man, then his glee at getting the mission, his trouble and anger
at having to replace one of his crew only days before the flight, and
his patience at everything else, once the decisions have been made.
The story is really about the Commander; the other two are superficial,
though important to the story. Once we get into space, we see the true
characters of the astronauts -given the opportunity to act up, with no
authority within reach, they will go as far as they can! Still, they are
professionals, and that is also apparent, in that they get serious
whenever something regarding their jobs comes up.
They really shine during the emergency, and this is where mission
control really gets to shine, as well. This movie certainly didn't need
much in the way of dramatic enhancement -so much went on, so much went
wrong, that the only thing to do was to cram as much of it as possible
without diluting the characters. Obstacle after obstacle was thrown at
them, much like a simulator run, and they handled them all.
I think my favorite scene on the ground is when they discover that the
carbon dioxide canisters are square in the command module, but round in
the lunar excursion module! The process that they went through to get
that device in the shortest amount of time was amazing!
The landing, of course, took a little longer than in real life, but
worked beautifully in the movie. It was very heartfelt, in the Lovell
living room, at their son's military academy, and in mission control.
I liked the technical nature of this film, as they don't explain what
all the NASA acronyms mean, and yet we don't really feel the need to
know. Having gone through Spacecamp, I understand most of the things
said in mission control, but some elude me still!
The music was also great. It is something that I can listen to and feel
the movie. It is very uplifting, somber when needed, and fully
triumphant at the end. This is another terrific movie score. The main
menu on this DVD supports the music, as it will play through the entire
soundtrack score if allowed to sit long enough!
The best thing about the supplementary material on the DVD is the
documentary "Lost Moon", which essentially takes us through important
milestones in the movie and breaks it up with interviews with the cast,
crew and some of the people who lived through that flight and are still
alive to speak about it, including Jim Lovell himself. I was glued to
the screen, absolutely mesmerized.
The only other feature, besides the unwatched director's commentary and
unread cast and crew notes, is the trailer, which made me want to watch
the movie all over again -that good.
This movie actually looks like NASA footage at some points. It looks
very much like the scenes were taken from 1970. Amazingly, it looks more
archival than it actually is, since only selected news reports actually
come from that era. It's hard to get more dramatic than this kind of
story, with three men who could have easily been lost on the way to the
Moon. The heroics involved in getting them back were simply amazing, and
that rocket -ah, that rocket is beautiful!
December 1995 on Video
for the 2nd time
Realistic, and even
though the ending is known, it is very suspenseful.