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Apollo 13

4K Ultra HD

Blu Ray

  • Score
    from 4 reviewers
    Review Date:
  • Apollo 13 shines in its 4K UHD release, praised for its compelling blend of drama and technical marvel.

    Apollo 13 4K UHD Blu-ray Front Cover

    Disc Release Date:

  • Video
  • Apollo 13's 4K UHD release offers notable visual enhancements but is marred by inconsistencies and some color issues, still marking a clear upgrade over previous versions.

  • Audio
  • Apollo 13's 4K DTS:X mix impresses with its nuanced, immersive sound, from thunderous launches to subtle atmospheric details, enhancing dialogue, effects, and Horner's score.

  • Extra
  • Apollo 13's 4K release from Universal features rich extras, including dual audio commentaries and immersive documentaries, in a lavishly designed Film Vault collector's set, global roll-out aimed at cinephiles.

  • Movie
  • Apollo 13, critically acclaimed and directed by Ron Howard, offers a gripping, technically detailed account of NASA's harrowing 1970 moon mission, stunningly presented in UHD.

    Video: 82

    Apollo 13's journey onto 4K UHD Blu-ray presents a repackaged version that remains unchanged since 2020, offering both a blessing and a curse in its visual delivery. Utilizing a 3840x2160 resolution with HDR, Wide Colour Gamut (WCG), and HEVC encoding, the disc promises an enhanced viewing experience, anchored in the technical merits of modern home theater setups. While this release ostensibly represents an upgrade from previous iterations, particularly over DVD and standard Blu-ray formats, it harbors inconsistencies that mar its potential. These range from compression issues to an at times overly warm color palette, with skin tones veering towards the unnatural. Yet, when viewed through an appropriate setup, such as an LG 65C2 Dolby Vision 4K Ultra HD OLED EVO TV coupled with a Panasonic DP-UB820EB-K player, the benefits of HDR and improved shadow detail become more pronounced, offering a compelling argument for its place as the go-to version for dedicated fans.

    Crafted from a meticulous 4K film scan of the original 35mm negatives, the detail in this presentation is subtly superior, gradually revealing itself in the texture of skin, fabrics, and intricate space equipment. The fidelity to the filmic source is preserved with a consistent grain structure that enhances rather than distracts, providing a cinematic authenticity often lost in transition to higher resolutions. Colors are managed with a conscientious balance, retaining the film’s original palette while introducing an enriched vibrancy through HDR grading. Highlights like the crisp delineation of space suits, the dynamic contrast of space's deep blacks against the stark brightness of LEDs, and more nuanced skin tones contribute to a definitive viewing experience.

    However, this edition is not without its discrepancies. The remastered Blu-ray included alongside offers an interesting comparison point, with certain scenes arguably benefiting from a more evenly managed presentation at the cost of HDR’s dynamic range. Digital effects, albeit limited in their original application, exhibit varying degrees of resolution fidelity, occasionally pulling the viewer out of the otherwise immersive experience. Despite these visual effects shortcomings and the divisive nature of its color and contrast handling, the UHD release of Apollo 13 undeniably enriches the visual narrative. The leap in quality from previous releases becomes especially evident through side-by-side comparisons, accentuating the advancements in clarity and color science that can render previously unnoticed details with newfound clarity.

    Audio: 87

    The 4K UHD Blu-ray release of "Apollo 13" benefits immensely from its DTS:X audio track, which has been critically acclaimed for delivering an immersive aural experience that rivals the visual splendor of the film itself. Foremost among its accolades is the track’s ability to render dialogue with pristine clarity, ensuring that every exchange, whether captured on or off mic, is comprehensible and given primary attention across the frontal stage. This clarity further extends to the meticulously scored soundtrack by James Horner, which is elevated to an immersive backdrop that enhances the emotional and dramatic stakes of the narrative. Details such as the ambient sounds within the space modules, the dynamic buzz of mission control, and the formidable roar of the shuttle's lift-off are presented with an exceptional level of detail that not only breathes life into these scenes but also envelops the viewer in a convincingly authentic sonic environment.

    What sets this DTS:X track apart is its mastery over the subtle nuances that elevate a great audio mix into a sublime one. The adept usage of surround speakers and an overhead layer introduces a dimensionality that transcends traditional soundscapes, allowing for an organic flow of audio that complements every scene seamlessly. Such technical prowess is demonstrated in scenarios ranging from the quiet hums and beeps of simulator training sessions to the alarming cacophony heralding crises aboard the spacecraft. The mix capitalizes on these moments to engage the listener fully, utilizing the subwoofer to enhance these experiences with balanced but powerful bass, and employing the overhead channels to add a layer of depth that places you squarely within the action.

    Moreover, the DTS:X mix shines in its nuanced handling of both bombastic and subtle sound elements. From reference-quality shuttle blast-offs that boast thunderous, raw power to delicate ambient effects that pull audiences deeper into the film's emotional core, every aspect is rendered with pinpoint precision and clarity. This audio track not only celebrates the technological achievements depicted in "Apollo 13" but also elevates them, delivering an auditory experience that mirrors the film’s thematic depth and narrative intensity. With its impressive handling of LFE impact, surround usage, and integration of James Horner’s iconic score, this DTS:X mix is a testament to audio mixing as an art form, making it not just an enhancement but a pivotal component of the “Apollo 13” viewing experience.

    Extra: 81

    Apollo 13's 4K UHD Blu-ray edition, released as part of Warner Bros. Discovery and Universal Pictures Home Entertainment's Film Vault Collector's Set, preserves and enhances the storied journey of the ill-fated lunar mission with its astounding array of extra features. Maintaining a direct and professional tone, it's clear that this edition caters to die-hard fans and cinephiles, packing both technical insights and nostalgic artifacts. The inclusion of audio commentaries by director Ron Howard and the Lovells offers deep dives into the film's production and the actual Apollo 13 mission, reinforcing the set's appeal to both film enthusiasts and history buffs alike. Furthermore, carried-over content from the 20th Anniversary Blu-ray adds value, offering a rich, detailed exploration of the film's legacy without introducing new supplements. Remarkably, this set encapsulates a perfect blend of cinematic homage and educational material, marking it as a must-have for collectors.

    Extras included in this disc:

    Audio Commentary by Director Ron Howard: Insightful directorial perspective on the making of Apollo 13.
    Audio Commentary by Jim and Marilyn Lovell: Personal insights from the astronaut and his wife.
    Apollo 13: Twenty Years Later: A retrospective look at the film's lasting impact.
    Lost Moon: The Triumph of Apollo 13: Detailed documentary on the historic mission.
    Conquering Space: The Moon and Beyond: Explores the history of space exploration leading up to Apollo 13.
    Lucky 13: The Astronauts' Story: Focuses on the experiences of the Apollo 13 crew.
    Theatrical Trailer: Original promotional trailer for the film.
    U-Control: Interactive feature allowing viewers to delve deeper into the film.

    Movie: 88

    Ron Howard’s “Apollo 13,” presented in the striking clarity of 4K UHD Blu-ray, continues to assert its position as a cinematic marvel, three decades following its initial release. Not merely content with being a successor or complement to films like “First Man,” it independently stands as a riveting recount of the 1970 lunar mission — a story of survival and ingenuity against the vast, unforgiving backdrop of space. The film’s portrayal is painstakingly authentic, credited to Howard’s commitment to detail and a superb ensemble cast led by Tom Hanks, whose performances are anchored in thorough research and a remarkable replication of zero-gravity conditions through hundreds of parabolic flights - a feat that arguably remains unmatched by contemporary CGI effects. The commitment to realism not only elevates the narrative but leaves an indelible impact on its audience, effectively blurring the lines between cinematic spectacle and historical documentation.

    Universal’s release of “Apollo 13” on 4K UHD is laudably enhanced with a 2160p/HDR video presentation and a new DTS:X soundtrack, though it skimps on offering new supplements. Nevertheless, the technical upgrade is the real star here, revitalizing the visual and auditory experience for contemporary audiences. Witnessing the harrowing journey of astronauts Lovell, Haise, and Swigert as they navigate the life-threatening complications of their mission is more visceral than ever. The impeccable precision in visual details and sound design thrusts viewers directly into the heart of the narrative, reinforcing “Apollo 13” not only as Howard’s possible magnum opus but also as a perennial masterpiece deserving of its place in both cinematic and space exploration histories.

    Through its 4K presentation, “Apollo 13” retains its essence — a compelling testament to human resilience and ingenuity. The meticulous production, bolstered by Howard’s directorial acumen and an exceptional cast, renders it a timeless artifact in film history. Its portrayal of true events remains as gripping today as it was upon its debut, enriching the legacy of one of NASA’s most storied missions. For aficionados of space narratives and stellar filmmaking alike, this release reaffirms the film’s status as an essential addition to any collection, continuing to captivate and inspire with its blend of emotional depth and technical brilliance.

    Total: 82

    The 4K UHD Blu-ray release of "Apollo 13" marks yet another notable entry into the canon of space adventure films, presenting itself with an authenticity and cinematic flair that only Ron Howard could muster. The transfer to 2160p with HDR enhancement brings a vividness to the visuals, illuminating the depths of outer space and the intricacies of NASA's operations with unparalleled clarity. Coupled with a DTS:X soundtrack, the audio experience launches viewers directly into the tension and triumphs of the Apollo 13 mission, offering a highly immersive auditory journey. Fans of physical media and collectors will also find the packaging and inclusion in THE FILM VAULT series to be a commendable touch, positioning this release as a must-have among titles from both Warner Bros. Discovery and Universal Pictures catalogues.

    The significance of "Apollo 13" as a seminal work in the narrative of space exploration is undeniable, remaining peerless save for comparisons to films like "The Right Stuff" and "The Martian." This release not only reaffirms its status through a stellar audio-visual upgrade but also extends an invitation to delve deeper into the Apollo missions through recommended supplementary materials like Al Reinert’s documentary "For All Mankind" and Andrew Chaikin’s book "A Man on the Moon." Personal testimonials underscore the profound impact of Ron Howard’s masterpiece over the years, highlighting its continued relevance and emotional resonance twenty-two years following its theatrical debut.

    In conclusion, the 4K UHD Blu-ray release of "Apollo 13" transcends mere home entertainment; it is an essential piece of cinematic history repackaged for contemporary audiences. While the upgrade may not warrant a purchase for those who have recently invested in previous special editions, for newcomers or devoted fans seeking the ultimate viewing experience, this release is unequivocally recommended. Its blend of technical excellence, historic authenticity, and narrative power ensures "Apollo 13" remains a pivotal representation of human endurance and ingenuity in the face of cosmic uncertainties.