Icarus' sin wasn't daring to fly so high but being so easily discouraged. I don't know whether it is my age (born in 1968) or my technophilic(/phallic) background, or if it's just because there's nothing left worth believing in, but the space program, despite bureaucratic idiocies, has been the closest thing to inspiration in this turgid life. I watch movies to affect awe; with space exploration, I experience awe. Films like The Right Stuff and For All Mankind are part of my devotional canon, and Apollo 13 is the most recent addition.
The story is the mission that has been called "America's most successful failure." What was to have been the third landing on the moon became a desperate attempt to simply bring the crew home alive after their craft is crippled due to a mechanical fault. The film is superbly cast, and I couldn't get enough of Ed Harris as flight director Gene Kranz. The race to solve such intricate problems as filtering carbon dioxide in a vehicle with one too many passengers or too squeeze the most amps out of the electrical system is truly the Triumph of the Nerds. When I go back to see Apollo 13 again, I'll buy a pocket protector for the occasion. This is far and away the best movie that I have seen this year, and I can recommend it to the widest possible range of viewers.
Copyright © 1995 by Eric Scharf.  All rights reserved.