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July 05, 1995 - Image 9

Resource type:
Michigan Daily Summer Weekly, 1995-07-05

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You'll like this, folks
Folk artist John McCutcheon appears at
the Ark on Wednesday, July 7. With fans
{ like Johnny Cash, he's got to be good.
Tickets are $11, doors open at 8 p.m. Call
761-1451 for more information.

Th i gun Huh

July 5,1995 -

Apollo 13' gets off ground

y Scott Plagenhoof
aily Arts Editor
Eight months after the first lunar
rface landing - the Apollo 11 mis-
n - the public and the media were
Iready bored with the prospect of men
n the moon. Apollo 13 was looked
pon as another flawless NASA exer-
ise. It wasn't.
An explosion caused by mechani-
al defect threatened the oxygen and
ower supply of the capsule and the
ives of the crew. For the three astro-
sauts - including space veteran Jim
Lovell who had hovered just above the
on's surface on a previous Apollo
mission - there would be no moon
shot. They now instead must struggle
for their lives.
Re-telling the events of the near-
fatal space flight, "Apollo 13" treats
the space program and the moon
shots themselves as epic, Homeric
events to compensate for the film's
initial obstacle: the audience knows
going into the film how it will end.
e astronauts - Jim Lovell, Fred
Haise and Jim Swigert (Tom Hanks,
Bill Paxton and Kevin Bacon respec-
tively) - in a quest for man's great-
est accomplishment (albeit also vir-
ually inconsequential, unless you
like moon rocks) were forced into
the most daring rescue in human his-
Thankfully director Ron Howard
stays in check rather than displaying
k6 trademark elib. Rather than im-

ploding a less than insignificant story
such as "Far and Away" or "The Pa-
per" into a mush of feel-good listless-
ness he allows this extraordinary true-
life tale to carry its own weight. What
results is classic storytelling with a few
visual affects that dazzle (both the
Apollo 13
Directed by Ron Howard;
with Tom Hanks, Kathleen
Quinlan and Ed Harris
At Briarwood and Showcase
launch and the re-entry into orbit) and
a few that don't (virtually every shot of
the space module from the outside is
comical at best). Yet this is storytelling
in its most skeletal form; a simple re-
telling of extraordinary events with
little depth and less charisma.
Ironically in its setbacks it is his-
torical accuracy that somewhat sinks
"Apollo 13." The three astronauts,
trained to be critical thinking, flag
waving engineers, are just that. As a
result they are entirely flat - void
of any passion. When faced with
peril they respond with near passive
confidence, unallowed to assess
their situation with any moment of
tangible emotion. Even in the accel-
eration of their dilemma, the inten-
sity of the danger is only registered
through a series of technical and
mathematical mishaps. When

Hanks' Lovell screams, "I know
about the God-damned globular,"
that's fine and good, but who in the
audience does? Thus what could
have been amongst the film's most
dramatic sequences is its dullest.
Yet the film presses on, leaning
on its more dynamic qualities, spe-
cifically the characters back on this
planet. Whereas inside the capsule
the men are overshadowed by ma-
chine, particularly due to Howard's
quick cuts that make truly seeing a
bit difficult, the homefront is char-
acter-based. The whole of the hu-
man drama is presented, and done
very well, back on Earth. Ed Harris
(who ironically portrayed John
Glenn in the far superior astronaut
film, "The Right Stuff") as the
flight director, Gary Sinise as a pi-
lot aborted from the mission, and
Kathleen Quinlan as Mrs. Jim
Lovell, are the real stars of the film
- a series of strong-willed indi-
Hanks as Lovell will bring no ac-
ceptance speeches. He barely shows
up. He is again simply the all-Ameri-
can boy, the lovable, amiable Tom
Hanks, this time without a gimmick.
Lovell himself shows no qualities ex-
cept stubborn pride and a love for his
family. Swigert's sole characteriza-
tion is that he is a ladies man. Haise's
is that he breathes.
Like Jim Lovell's Apollo experi-
ences themselves, "Apollo 13"
dangles just above its visible target,
What results is a slick crowd-pleaser

great scores...

and a great story. It looks good and at ous choices and point-and-shoot direc-
times it feels good, yet Howard's obvi- tion leave the film a bit soulless.
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