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Apollo 13

Apollo 13  

4 members have voted

  1. 1. Does Apollo 13 go in the space capsule?

    • ✅ Gentlemen, it's been privilege flying with you.
      0
    • ❌ Houston, we have a problem.
      4


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Amy & Paul come home to 1995’s space disaster docudrama Apollo 13! They ask if this is secretly a film about disappointment, spot a cameo by a legendary director, and discuss whether there’s a successor to Ron Howard among today’s generation of filmmakers. Plus: What’s the actual version of the film’s most famous quote?

Next week Unspooled kicks off a new series on summer blockbusters! You can join the conversation for this series on the Unspooled Facebook Group at https://www.facebook.com/groups/unspooledpodcast, and on Paul’s Discord at https://discord.gg/ZwtygZGTa6. Learn more about the show at unspooledpod.com, follow us on Twitter @unspooled and Instagram @unspooledpod, and don’t forget to rate, review & subscribe to us on Apple Podcasts, Stitcher and Spotify. You can also listen to our Stitcher Premium game show Screen Test right now at https://www.stitcher.com/show/unspooled-screen-test, and apply to be a contestant at unspooledpod@gmail.com! Photo credit: Kim Troxall

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Like I said, I would have voted for The Right Stuff instead if the poll had taken place on this forum.

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I found the film to be quite boring this time around (hadn't seen it since it was in theaters and I was 10). It's an impressive recreation of a real-life event and the zero-G stuff still looks impressive, but the film just never grabbed me. I think I kind of hate how NASA scientists are always portrayed in this, IDK, robotic way. Maybe that's 100% accurate and I applaud these men and women who handle situations like this with barely an emotion escaping their faces, but I find it utterly boring to just watch these people solve problems very competently.

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Reposted from Facebook:

Here's my thought on Ron Howard: he's a good director. Very competent at all of the technical aspects, casts well, gets good performances, etc. He also has no individual personal vision; that's why Amy wasn't able to do any auteurist reclamation of his canon. He executes the script and that's it. If the script is good, he can produce a good movie. To me Apollo 13 is on the high end of the Ron Howard approach: a story that is pretty gripping in its own right, for which Howard produces a suitably gripping movie.

It doesn't have any poetry, though. It hits its marks and gets out of there. Spielberg would deliver some extra visual poetry. It's not all about it being a true story and that being hard to do as a "Hollywood" movie. Lawrence of Arabia is a "true story" and a big Hollywood production and poetic and stirring as all hell. The Right Stuff (the movie I wish this podcast episode was about) is about a similar subject and also a lot more poetic. That's because these movies aren't just about "telling the story," they're getting at some larger statement about humanity. The Right Stuff isn't just about the technical marvel of the Space Race (though it does have that too), it's also more broadly about humanity's capacity for exploration and discovery. Apollo 13 is just about what happened to the people on this space flight: no more, no less.

Good movie, enjoyable movie, but it's a no. You can see where Howard's lack of a "poetic" instinct sticks out in that scene they play in the episode, where Lovell pauses as they ask him to depower the capsule and it dawns on him what this means. Great moment, as you understand along with him that this means he won't be walking on the moon. And then the dialogue comes in to put a button on it: "We just lost the moon." IMO a more poetic filmmaker would trust his visual filmmaking, realize that line is unnecessary, and cut it out. It's in these moments the movie falls a bit short of greatness.

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