Apollo 13 is one of my (many) favorite movies. The book it’s based on, Lost Moon by Jim Lovell (retitled Apollo 13 at some point), is also a good read, though I recommend you make a list of the technical terms and jobs at mission control as you read the beginning if you want to keep up with all the jargon once the mission gets going.
One reason I like the movie (and book) is that I am fascinated with space flight. I wish I could watch people really going to the moon, but I was born too late for that (and how much sense does that make, anyway?). If I believed in reincarnation, I decided in college, I’d want to be a military pilot and astronaut in my next life. I’m amazed that people could go to the moon in the late 60’s and 70’s – early in the movie Lovell mentions “a computer fitting in one room” as a sign of how advanced the technology is, and later they check his math with slide rules. There were certainly problems and accidents back then – on Apollo 13, obviously, as well as the fire on Apollo 1 – but why is it that only the more modern spacecraft have actually completely exploded or fallen apart in the air? At one point someone in mission control says “We’ve never lost a man in space,” and your mind adds “yet” because you know what would come a decade and a half later. (Well, unless you want to get into a debate about whether being in the atmosphere but off the ground counts. I’d say it does; those are the most dangerous parts of the trip, anyway.)
The original soundtrack is also something I enjoy. Each time it kicks in, I heave a silent “ahhh” and enjoy the arrangement and the feeling it adds to the scene. On StreamingSoundtracks.com, where there’s a ten-day waiting period before a just-played track can be requested again, the ten-minute theme from the launch is almost never available for request, so I know I’m not the only one who likes it.
And the emotional catharsis is powerful for me each time I watch the film. I get the same reaction with another movie that also came out in 1995 and which I also have only seen on VHS/DVD: Sense and Sensibility – just watch Eleanor’s reaction to Edward at the end of that movie, and you see my reaction to both movies. Indeed, her acting at that moment is one of my (again, many) favorite film/acting moments. Both movies do a great job of winding up the tension, and then giving you a welcome release just when you don’t think you can stand it any longer. I watch either one and come out feeling tired but happy. I highly recommend both movies, take your pick depending on if you’re in the mood for old England and romance or outer space and technical talk.
In other news, I joined Facebook today. One more site to keep up with (sigh), but several friends have told me that they use it more than MySpace and find it much more useful and/or user-friendly. Based on a few hours’ look-around today, I can see that it does offer much more than MySpace, but in both instances, I’ve really only joined because I want to stay in touch with friends, and I’m going to try not to spend too much time on there playing around with everything. Go ahead, laugh; I mean it!