Apollo 13 review (Blu-ray)

"Houston, we have a problem." That oft-quoted line is typical of the understatement we see throughout this brilliant true-life drama from director Howard.

Apollo 13 follows the nail-biting drama of astronauts Jim Lovell (Hanks), Jack Swigert (Bacon) and Fred Haise (Paxton) and their failed moon mission in 1970. On their way to the moon, an explosion in one of the oxygen tanks leaves the spacecraft crippled and stranded a very long way from home. And the race against time begins to bring the three-man crew back to Earth, safe and sound.

That a film which spends much of its time in two small locations manages to remain utterly compelling and tense is down to the skill of the filmmakers involved, from director Ron Howard through to the scriptwriters and the first-rate cast. Howard has grown into a fine director, and Apollo 13 is one of his finest achievements, a dramatic reconstruction that pays fitting tribute to what humaity is capable of.

EXTRAS ★★★ This 15th anniversary Blu-ray edition sees the film cleaned up, presented in the original widescreen 2.35:1 presentation, in 1080p, and looking simply gorgeous. There are two audio commentaries – one with director Ron Howard, the other with Jim and Marilyn Lovell. There are also three featurettes – Lost Mooon: The triumph of Apollo 13 (58 mins), which goes behind the scenes with the cast and crew of the film, and the survivors of the Apollo 13 mission; Conquering Space: The Moon and beyond (48 minutes); and Lucky 13: The Astronauts' Story (12 minutes).

Stuart O'Connor is the Managing Editor of Screenjabber, the movie review website he co-founded with Neil Davey far too many years ago. He likes all genres, as long as the film is good (although he does enjoy the occasional bad "guilty pleasure"), and drinks way too much coffee.

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