filmhead.gif (6498 bytes)




Bring out the American flag. Ron Howard’s Apollo 13 will sure make you feel grand about waiving it. Howard does a splendid directing tour guiding the re-enactment of the events of the near disaster of this space mission. The research is meticulous and the level of reality rivals documentary filmmaking. What is truly remarkable is that although his audience knows what the outcome will be an incredible amount of tension s sustained. Once the mission begins to fall apart and the crew begin their return to earth crew and audience alike wind up holding their respective breath.

What a grand ensemble of acting talent is conducted by Ron Howard. Every actor’s interpretation is right on the money. Yes, these are all fine actors, but it is to the credit of Howard that the amazing uniformity of performance has been achieved. Tom Hanks plays Jim Lovell to perfection. He just might get a third Oscar in a row. Ed Harris is inspiring playing Gene Kranz manning Mission Control. Kevin Bacon and Bill Paxton work in grand harmony with Hanks aboard the spacecraft. The actors are all a sheer joy to watch at the top of their craft.

Howard directs from a screenplay written by William Broyles, Jr. and Al Reinert. Reinert’s extensive research, which went into the making of his documentary, For All Mankind, is dramatized is spectacular fashion. Dean Cundey’s camera is fabulous in the tight quarters of the Apollo 13, following the astronauts through the ship with seamless fluidity. James Horner’s score is equally thrilling.

Apollo 13 is a brilliant movie and an equally stunning disc. The transfer conveys a feeling of immediacy that emphasizes the veracity of the events. Consistently sharp with vibrant colors, Apollo 13 achieves a level of reference quality. The sets are beautifully lit and the power of the lighting matches perfectly to disc. Space is the deep, black airless place. The blacks are endless, smooth, with no noise whatsoever. Grain, like air, has been banished from space in Apollo 13. The sound is massive. The bass rumple on take-off will challenge your system’s woofers. Make sure they are up to the task. Every sonic detail is captured on this grand laser disc effort from the controlled chaos of Mission Control to the struggling breathing of the astronauts as they race against time and oxygen. Apollo 13 a must have disc!