Sci-Fi Storm

IMAX: Space Station DVD review

by on Aug.03, 2005, under General News

It’s not our normal fare, but I like to keep some science fact to go along with the fiction. Warner Home Video recently released The IMAX title Space Station, narrated by Tom Cruise. Here is a mini-review, since it doesn’t fit within our normal framework.

I was always fascinated by the space program as a kid. I remember the last Apollo mission, have various books on the space systems used in the past (and ideas for the future), and wanted to be an astronaut as a kid (like I’m sure a lot of you did). So any look at life in space is interesting to me.

This release, based on the 3D release that was in IMAX theaters, shows life aboard the International Space Station (ISS) with the arrival of visitors from the Space Shuttle, and witness the launch of a Soyuz at Baikonur Cosmodrome from a camera that was perhaps a little to close. It covers from constructing and launching the pieces to actual occupation.

Although some of the majesty of the IMAX format is lost when its not on a 60-foot screen, the quality of the 70mm film converted to DVD is still amazing. Everything is crisp and clear. They should shoot everything with these cameras. Too bad their so big. I can’t imagine trying to move one around in microgravity. And be careful – they are expensive, and there probably isn’t an IMAX repairman handy in orbit.

Although I don’t see (or hear) Tom Cruise’s voice as a typical voice-over narrator, his understated style suited the feature well. Everthing needs to be careful and considerate on board – rush and you get hurt (or worse). I think he has a perfect NASA style. A good background music selection helps keep things moving and helps prevent boredom in the slow-moving setting.

Also included on the disc are a making-of feature “Adventures in Space”, which has more footage and interviews on making an IMAX film in space. Just how do you shoot an image through a small portal with a really big camera? Steal the station’s shaving mirror…

Two additional non-IMAX video tours are included – “Expedition 7” with Dr. Ed Lu shows a lot of the technical details inside the station (it’s amazing how many laptops are used), and “STS-108” which looks like a video short and then shown at an educational session on the ground, and shows some of the fun “science” – like sticking M&Ms in a blob of water.

Finally an audio commentary track with director Toni Myers and astronaut Marcia Ivins, and a 16-image photo gallery round out the features.

Interested in real space? This is a must have.

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