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Review of the Movie “Apollo 13”

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Apollo 13


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            Modern business culture, to a great extent, are not made for teams as they are mostly based on individualism and diversity of interests. Still, teamwork is vital to an organization’s path to growth and development since it encourages an environment of trust and cooperation among its constituents, which affects the output of a business.

Teams are also essential in producing more work for an organization or company since the division of labor is given to certain groups or individuals who have the talent and ability to take on the task.

Teamwork necessitates the effective pooling of diverse individuals to work toward a common goal. But teamwork just doesn’t happen overnight. It requires a strong leadership to make it work and the assistance of its members to keep the ball rolling, most especially during times of crisis.

            The film that I have chosen to exhibit the complexity in team relations found within  the workplace is Apollo 13, as it is a movie that lucidly depicts the stressful scenarios that individuals are faced with when dealing with unexpected occurrences at work.

            This paper will note several I/O related constructs that are observed in certain scenes of the film, and based on those constructs, a connection will be made on how such characteristics and methods in predicting or evaluating performance levels of an individual influence the outcome of the work provided in given situations.

            It is important to see the correlation between the standards of work an individual is expected to comply with and the way teams are formed within the organization as a result of a dilemma or problem encountered.

Description of the Movie:

            Apollo 13 is a widely acclaimed film which superbly dramatized the real events that occurred during the abortive 1970 lunar mission, led by astronauts James Lovell, Jack Swigert and Fred Haise. The three astronauts were wonderfully played by Tom Hanks (Lovell), Bill Paxton (Haise) and Kevin Bacon (Swigert). The film’s thorough portrayal of the communication processes involved during the unfortunate circumstances that surrounded the Apollo 13 mission, had garnered two Oscar Awards for Best Film Editing and Best Film Sound.

Apollo 13 was supposed to be the third manned lunar-landing mission of NASA but due to its failure to double check its oxygen tank before take-off, a leakage was overlooked, which led to an explosion that caused an electrical glitch in the system. The three astronauts had to use the lunar module that was supposed to take them to the moon so as to save the amount of oxygen left in the Apollo 13 spacecraft. As a result, NASA had decided to abort the moon-landing mission. Guided by the team of Ken Mattingly and Gene Kranz who were played by actors Gary Sinise and Ed Harris respectively, NASA had developed a re-entry plan for the Apollo 13 spacecraft since their main concern was getting the astronauts safely back home.

Despite the difficulties encountered by NASA scientists and the Apollo 13 crew in prolonging the life of the spacecraft, the re-entry plan was a success. Based on the incident, the mission was known to be a successful failure.

  I/O Theories

            The movie had illustrated several I/O related contructs that pertains to certain characters and situations in the unfolding of events. For instance, the training that Lovell and his crew underwent before the mission was launched demonstrated the fifth adaptive performance area that was discussed in class, mainly learning new work tasks, technologies and procedures. The willingness of the crew to participate in additional training kept them attentive and flexible in the tasks that they needed to do in order to successfully fly the spacecraft and land on the moon.

The training also served as an evaluation of the crew’s performance as their superiors placed each of them in a series of tests that demonstrated their suitability for the mission. The training could be patterned to Campbell’s Performance Model, which stands on three principles, namely declarative knowledge, procedural knowledge and skill, and motivation. This is the reason why Ken Mattingly had been removed from the mission two days before the launch and was replaced by Swigert since it was diagnosed that the former had been exposed to German measles. For an astronaut to be considered fit for travel to space, he/she must be in good health condition since that would contribute to the success of the mission.

In the scene where the crew and Mission Control found out about the leakage in the oxygen tanks, it prompted the Mission Control in Houston to survey the unexepected occurrence and decide on the fate of the mission. With the help of backup commander John  Young, Mattingly and his mission control team, the Apollo 13 crew was given instructions to shut down the control service module of the spacecraft to power up the lunar module and use it as their lifeboat while the crew team on earth help prepare the procedures to re-start the control service for its arrival back to earth. This scene expounds on the first, second and fourth precepts of the 8 Adaptive methods of performance, which are handling emergencies in crisis situations, handling work stress and dealing with uncertain and unpredictable working situations.

Another scene involving the three precepts was when the mission control and the crew had worked on a solution to conserve what little power is left on the spacecraft, and the mere fact that the lunar module could only contain a limited amount of carbon dioxide since it is a spacecraft that was made specifically for only two crew members.

The third precept, which is solving problems creatively, could be observed in the scene where a group of engineering team in Houston was asked to help solve the issue of the excess of carbon dioxide in the Apollo 13 spacecraft. They had suggested that the crew create a sort of mailbox device that could quickly remove and store the poisonous gas in the atmosphere of the spacecraft. This ingenious idea, helped the Apollo 13 crew to stay on track in arriving home safely.

The film also showed a glimpse of the sixth precept which is demonstrating interpersonal adaptability. In the scene where Swigert was questioning Lovell and Haise why Mission Control has not updated them on the re-entry plan, disputes started to ensue but it was quickly soothed over when Lovell had brought them back into the reality of the situation. This scene demonstrated how conflicts could ensue in times of stress but if a team is led by soemone who is flexible enough to handle certain kinds of situations and people, work could still be accomplished.

The Apollo 13 crew also demonstrated their physical adaptability in the movie as despite the frequent changes in temperature due to the conservation of power and the stress that they were subjected to as a result of their predicament, all three were able to handle the demands of the situation since they had been prepared for it.

Movie Opinions:

            The film Apollo 13 effectively demonstrated the working environment in space stations and how individuals or groups of individuals handle stress in certain situations that occur within their compounds. The I/O related contructs observed in the film provides a glimpse into the characteristics and behaviors of individuals when faced with a pressing dilemma in work. After watching the film, I was able to grasp the difficulty of working in aeronautics as it is almost always a life and death situation if aproblem has been encountered but nevertheless, I have gained much respect for the work that they are tasked to do.


Landy, F. J. & Conte, J. M. (2006). Work in the 21st Century: An Introduction to Industrial and Organizational Psychology. New York: Blackwell Publishing.

Cite this Review of the Movie “Apollo 13”

Review of the Movie “Apollo 13”. (2016, Jul 05). Retrieved from https://graduateway.com/apollo-13-essay/

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