The Perilous Voyage of Apollo 13

To be honest, when I read the subject of “Oscar movies” I had to go read up on a list. I’m not a big award watcher, and don’t really pay attention as to whether a movie is staled for one (or several) or not. I don’t tend to read critiques either. If a movie sounds interesting to me, I’ll go and see it. Apollo 13 was one such movie.

Growing up on a diet of Star Trek, Doctor Who and Space 1999, the Apollo programme fascinated me. I’d missed the moon landing (I was born 1973, boo) but the idea of being able to walk on a surface so alien… I loved it. Space drew me like nothing else. It still does.

But back to Apollo 13. Less a movie and more a docudrama, it charts the fateful third return to the moon of the Apollo series. Having already had a team member replaced, the mission starts under a cloud, and then it’s announced that with two previous moon landings, no TV station plans to broadcast the mission.

Then an oxygen tank stir results in an explosion and suddenly the mission is not about landing on the moon but getting three men home safe. TV interest is piqued and the whole world watches, caught up in the drama.

And though the movie is about a historic event and I know the outcome, I’ve not actually managed to watch it without chewing my nails off.

What I love about Apollo 13 is the story of adventure turned misadventure, the determination of NASA’s Mission Control to get its men back alive and the genius of invention as the scientists struggle to overcome the problems being experienced by the crew (the CO2 washer is a classic, I think)

And I love that communication after the splashdown that assures us that all three men have survived a near-disaster. Though a “failure” in terms of landing on the moon – and sadly Lovell never did – Apollo 13 is a triumph in human creativity and overcoming massive odds.

Apollo 13 won Best Sound and Best Film Editing in the ’96 Academy Awards, as well as BAFTAs for Best Production Design and Outstanding Achievement in Special Visual Effects.


Misa Buckley is a sci fi geek who escapes the crazy of raising five children by creating imaginary characters who experience adventure, romance and really hot sex on their way to a happily-ever-after. You can keep up to date with Misa’s latest news by following her onTwitter or at her website.

Posted on February 27, 2013, in Misa Buckley and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

  1. I loved this film too–for all the reasons you cite–its not a space adventure but a view of humanity at its most resourceful in a crisis. I too grew up with a fascination for Star Trek, Dr. Who among others and love to read and watch sci fi to this day. Did you ever get into Blake Seven. I’m still trying to find someone who remembers that show, let alone who liked it as much as I did.

    • I watched Blake’s Seven, though never religiously. I think because the BBC tended to mess around with the airing and with it having an arc, it wasn’t as easy to dip into as Doctor Who.

      • You saw it, you know what it is. When I mention it, even on the wide universe that is the internet, I feel like I’m speaking greek to the romans. I used to watch it in reruns on Saturday at midnight in graduate school which tells you way too much about my life. 🙂

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