Talk about rolling snake eyes. To begin with, your mission is numbered "thirteen." Then the pilot you've trained with is grounded prior to lift-off because he's allegedly been exposed to the measles; he's replaced by a young buck still wet behind the ears. Once you're within spitting distance of the surface of the Moon an oxygen tank explodes. Obviously, it takes oxygen to breathe, so now what? Shut down everything in the command module, of course, shiver in the lunar module, and hope the gravitational tug from the Moon will slingshot you back home.
And I thought I had my bad days.
Yet the problems mentioned above merely scratch the surface of the true trials and tribulations of APOLLO 13. Director Ron Howard recreates this gripping, compelling story, right down to beehive hairdo's and computers the size of Mt. Rushmore. The drama, the sense of urgency--on the part of the astronauts, and the NASA staff in Houston frantically trying to save them--is so powerful and vivid I felt I was watching the actual event itself. To magically weave the viewer into the story is a crowning achievement for any filmmaker, and here, Howard succeeds like a wizard waving a wand.
Tom Hanks, Bill Paxton, Ed Harris, Kevin Bacon, and Gary Sinise headline a stellar cast in a grim race-against-time that had the entire world transfixed in April of 1970. I remember being glued to the TV watching Walter Cronkite broadcast around the clock to give us the latest developments of the Apollo 13 story; I remember the relief and joy I felt when that banged-up capsule was retrieved from the ocean. To relive the triumph--and near-tragedy--of this event is an awesome experience, and APOLLO 13 is awesome, indeed.