Probably one of the most significant things about Apollo 13 is the fact that it managed to be such a strikingly realistic film despite the abundance of well-known Hollywood actors. Tom Hanks, of course, can convincingly act any part in the world, and his role in Apollo 13 is no exception. All of the actors involved seemed to have been given parts that they were born to play, because they were so successful in the roles. The true events of the historic Apollo 13 mission are amazingly re-created here, and the results are spectacular.
Not only is this film wonderfully acted, it also presents a nearly flawless portrayal of the time period, even down to the slide rulers that were used to do calculations. The audience is literally taken back in time to the 1960's, and all of these universally exciting events are brought back to life, and this is one of the things that makes this movie so special. So many films try to do this, and the vast majority of them fail miserably, so it just feels so good to occasionally see it done right.
Another thing that was used in the perfect amount in Apollo 13 was the special effects. I am entirely against excessive special effects, because if they aren't justified in being in the film, they can sometimes ruin the film by themselves (remember The Perfect Storm?). The special effects in Apollo 13, however, served the film very well. Of course, the most significant special effect in the film, aside from the space scenes, was the zero gravity, which was done flawlessly. I'm just glad that they decided to go up in one of those Zero-G planes for these scenes, rather than have the actors drift lazily around and act as if they are in zero gravity, because that would have taken a lot away from the film.
Apollo 13 has an excellent story made even better by the fact that it is true, it has great acting, skillful direction, and plenty of tasteful humor. It is not only a highly entertaining film, but is also educational, which should please parents (as if they need any more pleasing than seeing their younger years brought back to life on the silver screen). Definite must-see, Apollo 13 is a contemporary classic.