- The Washington Times - Friday, June 12, 2015

Another anniversary for director Ron Howard’s celebrated historical drama gives home theater owners a new, digitally upgraded version of the 1985 film as well as a wonderful education on space travel in Apollo 13: 20th Anniversary Edition (Universal Studios Home Entertainment, Rated PG, $39.99).

The Academy Award-winning movie finds actors Tom Hanks (as Apollo 13 Cmdr. Jim Lovell), Kevin Bacon (as backup Command Module Pilot Jack Swigert) and Bill Paxton (as Lunar Module Pilot Fred Haise) re-creating the near-tragic mission of Apollo 13, in which a routine trip to the Moon became a fight for survival.

The latest remaster showcases the best of the new 4K technologies, digitally transferred and color-corrected from the 35mm film negative, to celebrate cinematographer Dean Cundey’s work through a rich color scheme and perfect contrast highlighting awesome shots of space, the lunar module craft and a 1970s America.

However, oddly, no Dolby Atmos sound mix is available (the latest speaker enhancement set-up for home theater viewers) but the DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 surround track does not disappoint.

The extras are formidable, but they’re almost all culled (sans a 10-minute revisit of the project with Mr. Howard and producer Brian Grazer) from the 15th Anniversary release.

For those taking the purchasing plunge with this version of “Apollo 13,” some of the best items include:

• A fantastic pair of optional commentary tracks offers an intimate look at the movie. One, features Mr. Howard solo while the other hosts, get ready for this, Capt. James Lovell and his wife Marilyn as they recount the entire harrowing experience while watching the film.

• An hourlong documentary on the Apollo 13 mission as well as a 48-minute look at the space race both deliver an excellent historical perspective to the movie.

• A pair of trivia tracks, activated via the Blu-ray controller, places pop-up boxes on screen covering details on life in the 1970s as well as the technology of the space flight. Narrated animations detail the stages of the Apollo 13 rocket sequence and what went wrong.

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