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Apollo 13 (SE)
DVD disk
Apr 6, 2005 By: Quigles
Apollo 13 (SE) order
Director:
Ron Howard

Actors:
Tom Hanks
Bill Paxton
Kevin Bacon

Rating:
Movie:
Extras:
Overall:

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WHAT'S IT ABOUT?
Nominated for nine Academy Awards, this true story took America by storm and made us forever remember the words, Houston, we have a problem. The story, if you dont know it yet, is as follows: Three astronauts (Jim Lovell, Fred Haise, and Jack Swigert) go into space, but when an explosion onboard knocks out their oxygen tank, a routine flight back to the moon turns into a desperate struggle to stay alive.
IS IT A GOOD MOVIE?
When I was nothing more than a wee little tike, I remember thinking everything about space was simply awesome, and I felt the same about this movie. As time went on though, I slowly grew out of my NASA stage, as I call it, and moved on to bigger and better things... like porn and internet chat (much better, right?). That said, I cannot deny that APOLLO 13 still remains an excellent movie to this day, and even though I dont personally find it to be the greatest film ever made, I can certainly see why some people would. The directing and music work together wonderfully, and bring new meaning to the word intense. Without the stylized editing and cinematography, this movie could have been your run-of-the-mill drama, but luckily it looks and feels huge. Lets not forget the acting though, which is as outstanding as the preceding factors. Tom Hanks is brilliant as always, and lets you identify with the character even when hes not talking. The costars hold their own against Hanks by letting the audience connect with them and helping us feel what they feel.

Other than some slightly dated and obvious computer graphics, there isnt really any flaws with this film. If you love space exploration, astronauts, NASA, and the like, plus you enjoy being on the edge of your seat, then I highly recommend this movie. I dont even like space stuff, but I was still thoroughly entertained here. Theres a perfect blend of drama and thrilling events thats enough to please anyone. A great movie for all ages to be sure (itll even teach the kiddies a thing or two).
THE EXTRAS
After the great Collectors Edition of APOLLO 13, was it really necessary for an Anniversary Edition? Apparently, a bunch of money-hungry studio execs over at Universal thought it was. Concerning the extras, everything on Disc 1 is old news (not to say its bad though); Disc 2 contains the new stuff. Lets take a look.

Disc 1:

Lost Moon: The Triumph of Apollo 13 (58:04): An excellent making-of featurette that covers everything you would want to know about the movie and more. The only problem is the over-usage of clips from the actual movie, which is irritating.

Feature Commentary (with Ron Howard): A very in-depth commentary that entertains and informs, despite having a few annoying pauses every once in awhile. Still a great listen.

Feature Commentary (with Jim and Marilyn Lovell): What a great idea! With this track, we get to enjoy listening to the real Jim Lovell (played by Hanks in the movie) as him and his wife tell their thoughts about the film, as well as give some interesting tidbits concerning being an astronaut. They dont talk constantly, but everything they say seems to add a sense of realism to the movie.

Also available are some Production Notes and the Theatrical Trailer.

Disc 2:

APOLLO 13: IMAX Experience: Aside from the picture perfect video and flawless audio transfer, this is nothing more than a shortened version of the original film. In fact, a full 24 minutes has been cut out. If you have a short attention span and want to get straight to the action, then I guess this one is for you. I recommend sticking to the theatrical version.

Conquering Space: The Moon and Beyond (48:25): Fans of NASA and everything to do with space exploration are sure to love this lengthy featurette. It basically explains the obstacles NASA has faced and overcome during the past 45 years. I cant really say I loved it, but its certainly an informative watch.

Lucky 13: The Astronauts Story (12:14): Yes, it may be short, but its also very cool. Mainly consisting of interviews discussing the mission, this featurette also includes some very interesting archive footage. Watch it.
FINAL DIAGNOSIS
Sometimes terrific movies get really crappy DVD releases, thus necessitating a special edition release later on. APOLLO 13 wasnt one of them. The previous edition had great bonus material and looked good too. But hey, this edition is here now, and theres nothing that can change that. Those special features fanatics out there should keep in mind though that there are only three new things to check out, so you might want to go ahead and get the previous Collectors Edition for cheaper. On the other hand, if your main focus is on video and audio, then I recommend cashing out a few extra bucks for this one.
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