By 1995 having left acting behind director Ron Howard had firmly established himself as a director with a number of hits under his belt that included Cocoon, Willow, Parenthood and Backdraft but he had hit a bit of a lull with Far and Away (1992) a Tom Cruise starrer that drove the film’s partial success to $148m and was followed by The Paper (1994) which had earned a paltry $48m. His next film would see him reunite with Tom Hanks the star of his first hit film Splash back in 1984. By now Hanks was a firmly established star who could do no wrong. Already with two Oscars to his name most recently for Forrest Gump he would be teamed with Kevin Bacon and the late Bill Paxton as the three astronauts in Apollo 13 and Hanks would get to utter the legendry understated phrase, ‘Houston we’ve had a problem’ in the true life account of the 1974 mission that went awry when their craft suffered massive internal damage that would leave them trapped and drifting in space unable to ever to return to Earth. It was a story that gripped the world and the film flitted back and fore between the 3 astronauts trapped in a confined space whilst the scientists and engineers frantically tried to find a way to get them safely back to Earth before time and oxygen ran out and all this was watched om TV by their wives wondering if they would ever see their husbands again. As one character tells the ground crew – ‘failure is not an option’
For Hanks it was another Everyman type role as Jim Lovell that would put audiences on his side and as keen to see them recued in a tale whose ending was known and yet Howard still managed to keep audiences on the edge of their seats. The three actors were put through training even getting to experience weightless on the famous ‘vomit comet’ plane that NASA used to simulated zero gravity. To achieve the weightlessness the plane would climb to 38,000 fee before then diving about 15,000 feet. The crew would use the vomit comet to film several of the scenes which as the plummet would give them only about 20 seconds or so of weightlessness it necessitated the plunge having to be done several hundred times to get the scenes needed for the film
It was Tom Hanks first screen role as a real person and the film would be released in the US on 30th June 1995 and was an immediate hit earning $355m making it the second biggest film of that year behind the ground breaking Toy Story which also featured Hanks in a vocal role. Apollo13 would go on to earn nine Oscar nominations including Best Film but would go on to win only 2 Oscars for Sound and Editing
Apollo 13 is a breath taking story of courage, faith and ingenuity in a race to bring a group of heroic astronauts home and this is the latest in the superb Film Vault collection which lavishes attention on many of the best Hollywood films that, to date, has included Goodfellas and the current selection of films to get the treatment includes Jaws, 2001 A Space Ofyssey as well as The Shawshank Redemption
The Film Vault edition of Apollo 13 includes ; .
Premium collectible – individually numbered crystal display plaque
Rigid clamshell box with magnetic closure + acetate O-ring, housing a 4K Ultra HD and a Blu-rayTM copy of the film, plus special features
Four collectible Art Cards – with film facts
Five unique Character Cards – with film quotes
Double-sided poster with theatrical poster and new key art
In world artefact – Apollo 13 launch Guest Pass
Again this is a truly superb addition to The Film Vault collection and is something of a must along with the other films for any serious film fan and with a limited edition of only 3500 copies worldwide means they wont be on the shelf for long.
related feature : Bill Paxton – Obituary
Here’s the Apollo 13 trailer…
Apollo 13 is released on 4K UHD & Blu-ray as part of The Film Vault collection on 1st October 2023