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'Apollo 13' Entering 'Blu' Orbit

2 Feb, 2010 By: Erik Gruenwedel

Apollo 13

Universal Studios Home Entertainment Feb. 2 said Oscar-winning movie Apollo 13 will be released on Blu-ray Disc for the first time April 13 as part of a 15th anniversary special-edition release commemorating the 40th anniversary of the harrowing space flight.

Directed by Ron Howard (The Da Vinci Code), Apollo 13 is based on events surrounding the real-life Apollo mission in which commander Jim Lovell (“Houston, we have a problem”) and two other astronauts, Jack Swigert and Fred Haise, fought a desperate battle to survive in a crippled spacecraft 205,000 miles from home while the Mission Control ground crew in Houston raced against time to bring them home.

The movie stars Tom Hanks (Angels & Demons), Bill Paxton (“Big Love”), Kevin Bacon (Frost/Nixon), Gary Sinise (“CSI: NY”) and Ed Harris (Appaloosa).

In addition to BD Live and My Scenes (bookmarking) functionality, the Apollo 13 Blu-ray release will feature Universal’s “U-Control” option that allows viewers to delve further into the movie with featurettes “The Apollo Era” and “Tech-Splanations” while the movie is playing.

The previously announced launch of Universal’s Pocket Blu app for the iPhone and iTouch is being expanded this spring to include Blackberry and Android mobile phones. The technology allow viewers to control their Blu-ray players with their mobile phones, including accessing video timelines, title browsing, a virtual keyboard and streaming bonus material to portable devices.

Additional special features from the original DVD release include commentary from director Ron Howard, Apollo 13 commander Jim Lovell and his wife Marilyn, and the featurettes: “Lucky 13: The Astronaut’s Story,” a “Dateline” television piece recounting the events of the mission; “Lost Moon: The Triumph of Apollo 13,” the making of the film including behind-the-scenes footage and interviews; and “Conquering Space: The Moon And Beyond,” recapping the last 45 years in space. 

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