We have been treated to some wonderful movies set in space - including Gravity, Moon, and The Martian - but, for me, Apollo 13 is up there as one of the best.

Apollo 13

Apollo 13

It was back in 1995 - yes, it really over twenty years ago, when we saw Ron Howard take up the director's chair to tell the incredible true story of the Apollo 13 mission and the astronauts who were part of it.

The movie follows Tom Hanks, Bill Paxton, and Kevin Bacon as astronauts Jim Lovell, Fred Haise, and Jack Swigert as they blast off into space in Apollo 13. Their mission... was to land on the moon. However an explosion on board leaves the ship with huge damage and they must rely on NASA to find a way to bring them home safely. They have lost the chance to walk on the moon, but now their lives hang in the balance. Will it be triumph or disaster for NASA?

Ron Howard is one of the best director's chair and has a knack of crafting wonderfully human stories - needless to say, he does that again with Apollo 13. Yes, it is a movie set in space and the special effects are terrific, but it is the story of the three men inside the rocket that keeps the audience on the edge of their seat and help pack an emotional punch.

No matter how many times you watch this film, the drama of this journey and rescue is just as exciting and terrifying - even though you know how it all ends. Howard ramps up the tension minute by minute as they start to run out of oxygen and there's huge uncertainty about the state of the ship as they plan for re-entry. Are the parachutes blocks of ice? Will the heat shields do their job?

It really is edge of your seat stuff as the lives of three men hang in the balance and there is nothing that Lovell, Haise, and Swigert can do to improve the situation that they find themselves in.

I have been a fan of Hanks for many years and Apollo 13 is another terrific performance from the two-time Best Actor Oscar winner. Lovell is the core of the Apollo 13 team and the one that hangs on to hope and keeps everyone together while they are facing an uncertain future. And yet, at times, we do see this character's fragility as he thinks about the family that he has left behind and may not see again. It is a wonderfully balanced performance from Hanks and he has great chemistry with Kevin Bacon and Bill Paxton.

Apollo 13 is a movie that really celebrates the strength of the human spirit and the fighting qualities that were evident in everyone involved from the moment something went wrong. Out of disaster came triumph and Apollo 13 wonderfully captures that sentiment.

However, it is not all about the performances as the film looks spectacular from start to finish. Howard captures the desolate and lonely feel to space perfectly; showing that there really is no one there to help when something goes wrong.

Apollo 13 is dramatic, entertaining, tension filled and packed with great performances from a cast that is exceptionally talented. It is really up there as one of the best space movies of all time and is a film that I have gone back to many times over the years.

It remains one of Howard's greatest movie achievements and went on to be a big critical and commercial success upon release. The movie went on to pick up nine Oscar nominations, including Best Picture.

by for www.femalefirst.co.uk
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