(detailed information about this entry from Wikipedia)
Apollo 13 is a 1995 film portrayal of the ill-fated Apollo 13 lunar mission. The movie was adapted by William Broyles Jr. and Al Reinert from the book Lost Moon by Jim Lovell and Jeffrey Kluger. It was directed by Ron Howard.
In 2002, Apollo 13 was re-released, in edited and modified form, as an IMAX film.
In 2005, a 10th anniversary DVD of the film was released; this version included both the theatrical version, and the IMAX version, along with several extras.
The tagline for the film is "Houston...We Have a Problem"
The film was widely praised as a compelling dramatization of a dramatic true event during the Space Race. The film also depicted the teamwork involved in coping with an unprecedented catastrophe in space travel with calm reasoning and ingenuity. The determination of dozens of characters on the ground to bring the astronauts home safely is perhaps best summed up in a line from the film itself, when Gene Kranz says, "We've never lost an American in space and we're sure as hell not going to lose one on my watch."
Bill Paxton, Kevin Bacon and Tom Hanks as the Apollo 13 crew.
The film is notable for its technical accuracy: principals reported that the film is reasonably faithful to the facts of the mission but adds some tension between the astronauts for dramatic effect. Ron Howard emphasized that the movie is a "summer blockbuster action film, not a documentary"
The dialogue between ground control and the astronauts was taken verbatim from actual transcripts and recordings, with the notable exception of one of the taglines of the film, "Houston, we have a problem." The words uttered by Jack Swigert were "Okay, Houston, we've had a problem here." Jim Lovell then repeated "Houston, we've had a problem." The script changed the quote deliberately, as Lovell's actual words suggested something happening in the past rather than the present.
Scenes involving weightlessness were filmed aboard NASA's "Vomit Comet", a KC-135 aircraft which is used to create weightless conditions for short periods by performing a series of parabolic dives. It is believed these scenes were the first to feature actual, rather than simulated, weightlessness in a non-documentary film. The spacecraft interiors were constructed by the Kansas Cosmosphere and Space Center's Space Works, who also restored the actual Apollo 13 Command Module.
Flight controllers actually involved in the mission and portrayed on the screen note that the key figures in mission control as well as in space were 'bigger than life' and exaggerated in many waysAl Pennington noted that he considered the movie about 50% accurate . The real astronaut John Young noted that the fictional John Young had to be the bravest person in the movie because anybody who woke up Ken Mattingly after he had been on a drinking binge took his life into his own hands . Young was kidding since the actual Ken Mattingly was a teetotaler and was in mission control supporting the mission.
. For example, actual Apollo 13 INCO
Looking out the window for the problem.
A DVD commentary track, recorded by Mr. and Mrs. Lovell and included with the 10th anniversary edition, mentions several inaccuracies included in the film, all done for reasons of artistic license:
- In the film, Ken Mattingly plays a key role in solving a power consumption problem that Apollo 13 was faced with as it approached re-entry. Lovell points out repeatedly in his commentary that in this case Mattingly was a composite of several astronauts and engineers, all of whom played a role in solving that problem.
- Several scenes took dramatic license for cinematic purposes, including the conflict depicted between Jack Swigert and Fred Haise as well as the party held at the Lovell's home during the first moon landing..
- A scene set the night before the launch, showing the astronaut's family members saying their goodbyes while separated by a road, a distance introduced to reduce the possibility of any last-minute transmission of disease, depicted a tradition not begun until the Space Shuttle program.
- The final manual burn of the LEM's engine, done to put Apollo 13 back in course, lasted 14 seconds, not 39, and was done with the engine pointed perpendicular to the Earth instead of towards the Earth as depicted in the film.
- Like all serious anomalies, there was no one single source of the problem. The explosion wasn't caused by a bad coil, but by a sequence of events which led to bare wires and (flammable) insulation in a tank of oxygen.
Some other technical inaccuracies exist in the procedures shown in the movie:
- The launch sequence in the movie shows the engine lights on the control panel as lit when the engine is operating, and flashing when the engine shuts down. In reality, after launch the light would only be lit when an engine shut down, and were out otherwise: the general idea seems to have been that lights would only light up to indicate a problem, so it was immediately obvious to the crew.
- The movie shows Tom Hanks jettisoning the Launch escape system by pressing the 'LES MOTOR FIRE' button. In reality, that was purely an emergency measure in case the motor didn't fire in an abort. Normally the LES would be jettisoned automatically, or the crew could jettison it manually by flicking up one of the 'TWR JETT' switches. Pressing 'LES MOTOR FIRE' without blowing the explosive bolts first with the 'TWR JETT' switch would cause the abort motor to fire while it was still attached to the Saturn V, which would probably be bad news.
- The solid rockets on the S-II interstage are shown as firing some seconds after the S-IC stage was jettisoned, whereas in reality they fired a fraction of a second before the explosive bolts separated the two stages. To further complicate matters, the retro thrusters on the S-IC stage on Apollo 13's Saturn V may have fired early, partially explaining why the crew reported such a jolt when the stage shut down.
The film contains a few anachronisms, including the use of the NASA's "worm" logo (first used in 1975) and the appearance of The Beatles' Let It Be album a month before it was actually released.
- Both Ron Howard's mother and father, Jean and Rance Howard, appeared in the film. Jean played Jim Lovell's mother, and Rance played the priest who kept vigil with the family. Ron's brother Clint Howard appeared in the movie as Seymour "Sy" Liebergot in Mission Control.
- Ron Howard's wife appears as one of the nuns in the VIP crowd for the launch. She's had at least a cameo in each of his films since his student films in college
- Many critics criticized the scene where Marilyn Lovell dropped her ring in the shower as an obvious and unrealistic dramatic addition. This actually did occur, however, according to Lovell. The 2005 DVD includes an interview with the Lovells in which they talk about this incident as well as being mentioned in Jim Lovell's book "Lost Moon."
- Jim Lovell also appeared in the movie, as the captain of the recovery carrier USS Iwo Jima. Ron Howard wanted to make him an admiral, the commander of the carrier task force, but Lovell said that he had retired as a captain and wanted to play one in the film (he even wore his old US Navy uniform). Other space program cameos include Marilyn Lovell and Gene Kranz.
- This is one of three Tom Hanks movies (along with Saving Private Ryan and Forrest Gump) where socks play a role in the plot. One of the items required to adapt the circular filter into the square receptacle is a sock.
- According to the director commentary on the 1995 release of the DVD, Ron Howard had special screenings for former NASA astronauts. After Buzz Aldrin, then working for NASA's public relations, saw the film he approached Howard and asked him about the footage of the launch. According to Howard, the exchange went:
- Aldrin: Where'd you get that footage?
- Howard: We made it ourselves, Buzz.
- Aldrin: Oh. (Pause) Can we use it?
Awards and nominations
1996 Academy Awards (Oscars)
1996 Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror Films (Saturn Awards)
1996 American Cinema Editors (Eddies)
- Nominated - Best Edited Feature Film — Mike Hill, Daniel Hanley
1996 American Society of Cinematographers
- Nominated - Outstanding Achievement in Cinematography in Theatrical Releases — Dean Cundey
1996 BAFTA Film Awards
- Won - Best Production Design — Michael Corenblith
- Won - Outstanding Achievement in Special Visual Effects — Robert Legato, Michael Kanfer, Matt Sweeney, Leslie Ekker
- Nominated - Best Cinematography — Dean Cundey
- Nominated - Best Editing — Mike Hill, Daniel Hanley
- Nominated - Best Sound — David MacMillan, Rick Dior, Scott Millan, Steve Pederson
1996 Casting Society of America (Artios)
- Nominated - Best Casting for Feature Film, Drama — Jane Jenkins, Janet Hirshenson
1996 Chicago Film Critics Association Awards
1996 Directors Guild of America
- Won - Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Motion Pictures — Ron Howard, Carl Clifford, Aldric La'Auli Porter, Jane Paul
1996 Golden Globe Awards
1996 Heartland Film Festival
- Won - Studio Crystal Heart Award — Jeffrey Kluger
1996 Hugo Awards
1996 MTV Movie Awards
- Nominated - Best Male Performance — Tom Hanks
- Nominated - Best Movie
1996 PGA Golden Laurel Awards
- Won - Motion Picture Producer of the Year Award — Brian Grazer, Todd Hallowell
1996 Screen Actors Guild Awards
- Won - Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Supporting Role — Ed Harris
- Won - Outstanding Performance by a Cast
1996 Writers Guild of America Awards
- Nominated - Best Screenplay Adapted from Another Medium — William Broyles Jr., Al Reinert
1996 Young Artist Awards
- Nominated - Best Family Feature - Drama
2006 AFI's 100 Years... 100 Cheers
- ^ a b http://www.apollo13dvd.com/
- ^ IMDb entry.
- ^ DVD commentary track.
- ^ a b c d e f g h Commentary track by Jim and Marilyn Lovell, from the 2005 Anniversary Edition DVD
- ^ IMDb.com entry
- ^ http://www.cinemablend.com/review.php?id=929
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