Apollo 13-DTS

January 28, 2012 6 Min Read

Review by: Matt Brighton

Plot: What’s it about?

It’s hard not to think of the space program without having some memories…Man walks on the Moon in July 1969, Shepard orbits the Earth 8 years ealier and a mission that no one really thought about, until it all went wrong…Apollo 13 is the true story of the mission that had America on it’s feet and listening to every word that was uttered for four days. Ron Howard has assembled a perfect cast with Tom Hanks playing the flight commander, Jim Lovell, in the lead. This role garnered Hanks his third consecutive Best Actor nominiation and it’s well deserved, as Hanks was perfect for the role. The rest of the cast, while not quite as stellar, only added to the intensity of the movie. Gary Sinise plays Ken Mattingly, the crew member who was sidelined at the last minute due to a case of the measels (which he never got). Kevin Bacon plays his replacement, Jack Swigert and Bill Paxton plays the third member of the crew, Fred Haise. There’s no telling how the flight would have gone had Mattingly been up there with the original crew, maybe fine, maybe none would be here today. It’s just one of those things. Nevertheless, the story of Apollo 13 is one of the most remarkable in recent history. The story starts off before the flight and introduces us to the lives of the members of the crew. Kathleen Quinlan, who also was nominated for an Oscar for her performance here, plays Lovell’s wife Marilyn. We see how passionate Lovell is for his job and that he’s a natural born leader, and that’s part of what Hanks brings to the role as well. Things progress normally, and the flight is treated as another “mission to the moon”, but Lovell in an interview quotes “There’s nothing normal about going to the moon” and he’s right. When you think about it, look at what we’ve accomplished! Once airborne, the flight seems to be taking place just as they practiced. With the flip of a switch, a routine stir of the Oxygen tanks, the whole mission is ended and the only thing that matters is getting home alive! It’s about at this time where we see the crew and the members of the ground crew (led by Ed Harris) come together. We see the smartest people in the world trying to figure out how to get three astronauts, who are 200,000 miles from home, back safely. Apollo 13 is not only good because it’s a story of triumph over impossible odds. It’s good because of a number of things. First, with Ron Howard directing a movie, odds are it will be good. And second with Hanks, Harris and Bacon in starring roles you’re bound to have a hit on your hands. Apollo 13 doesn’t concentrate on the beginning of the space program like “The Right Stuff” or how it all happened from the ground like “From the Earth to the Moon”. Apollo 13 chronicles one of the most significant events that happened this century, after all…what would have happened to the space program had Apollo 13 not made it back to Earth safely?

Video: How does it look?

About the only benefit that the DTS discs have that have carried over from the Dolby Digital version are the anamorphic pictures. That is to say that while the Dolby Digital versions are mostly superior, the DTS version does benefit from the 16:9 picture as well. The 2.35:1 image looks spectacular and is still one of the best transfers around. Colors, especially black levels, are dead on. No hint of artifacting, which is right since this movie isn’t even 5 years old yet. The edges are crisp and sharp. A lovely picture.

Audio: How does it sound?

There are a few reasons to own a DTS setup and this movie is one of them. While I personally think that DTS will take off in the near future, this movie uses DTS to the max. Little things make the whole movie sound better, like the locking of the door that uses all 5 channels. Anothe example is the explosion in space. Just little things here and there make this movie sound all that much better. While still packing the same punch that the Dolby Digital version has, this adds more detail and it’s not gone unnoticed.

Supplements: What are the extras?

There are no extras. I would personally pick the Dolby Digital version over this mainly due to the supplemental material, and the sound is almost as good, but if you want the definitive sound version for this movie…this is it.

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