Apollo 13 This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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   Blast off! That's how you'll feel after seeing Apollo 13, the Ron Howard film about the three American astronauts stranded in space 25 years ago.

Set in Houston and outer space in 1970, Apollo 13 begins with some footage of the historic first landing on the moon in 1969 (You know the line: "This is one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.") set at a party at astronaut Jim Lovell's home. Tom Hanks stars as Lovell, the astronaut longing to follow in Neil Armstrong's footsteps. As usual, Hanks gives a great performance, but his chances of grabbing a record third Oscar are slim because the movie is really about everyone involved in the space mission. Introduced as Lovell's flying partners are Fred Haise (Bill Paxton) and Ken Mattingly (Gary Sinise). Soon the plot fast-forwards to a couple of days before the launch.

Sinise is bumped from the mission because NASA fears he will have the measles and doesn't want anyone sick in space. In his place, Jack Swigert (Kevin Bacon) is brought in to fly the mission, but the two veterans are wary. This tension is felt throughout the film, especially when Bacon pushes the button that causes the accident.

The shuttle launch is very exciting and soon they are in space, ready to conquer the heavens. They relax, eat food and transmit a report for TV networks live from space, but none of the networks carries it, considering it old news. (This underlying message that no one cares about space missions anymore is often repeated.) Hanks tells Bacon to push a button and that is when the huge explosion occurs, releasing oxygen, water and power into space and creating a very dangerous situation.

Gene Kranz (Ed Harris) is brought into the picture at Mission Control along with many experts to console the astronauts and help them back to Earth. From adventure to adventure, from problem to problem, Apollo 13 never stops in its tale of problem-solving and action. The computerized special effects are great (not a single shot of NASA footage was used) and the plot never stops (except for a cheesy scene where Lovell's wife, Kathleen Quinlan, loses her wedding ring down the shower drain while her husband's stranded in space). Hanks and Sinise both give great, understated performances, following their terrific performances in Forrest Gump. Paxton and Bacon are also good, but it is Harris who takes charge, commanding his workers to "get these men home," and the NASA people never stop trying.

What makes Apollo 13 so exciting and interesting is the fact that it's a true story, not something cooked up by a creative fiction novelist. Even though I wasn't born until ten years after the fact, I still found myself rooting desperately for these astronauts to survive, even though I had only heard about this historic adventure occasionally on TV and had little knowledge of that era. Apollo 13 is a great success




This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






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Realjay41This teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. said...
Aug. 25 at 7:22 am
I saw it and it was good!
 
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