Blu-ray and DVD Reviews

IMAX Hubble

Reviewed by: Scott Chitwood
Movie Rating:
6 out of 10
Extras Rating:
7 out of 10
Movie Details:
View here

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Rating: G

Starring:
Scott D. Altman as Himself - Shuttle Commander
Leonardo DiCaprio as Narrator
Andrew J. Feustel as Himself - Astronaut
Michael T. Good as Himself - Astronaut
John M. Grunsfeld as Himself - Mission Specialist
Gregory C. Johnson as Himself - Shuttle Pilot
Michael J. Massimino as Himself - Mission Specialist
K. Megan McArthur as Herself - Astronaut

Directed by Toni Myers

Special Features:
Inside IMAX's Hubble 3D

Other Info:
Widescreen (1.85:1)
5.1 Dolby Digital Sound
Spanish and French Language
Spanish and French Subtitles
Running Time: 44 Minutes

Synopsis:
The following is the official description of the film:

"Change your view of our universe.

In May 2009, the crew of the Space Shuttle Atlantis launched a mission to make vital repairs and upgrades to the Hubble Space Telescope, the world's first space-based optical telescope. An IMAX camera captured the stunning footage of the five intricate spacewalks required, as well as close-up images of the effort to grasp the orbiting telescope with the shuttle's mechanical arm at 17,000 MPH - and an unexpected problem that could sabotage the entire mission.

Hubble combines this breathtaking material with images taken during the 20 years it has been our window into space. Through advanced computer visualization, Hubble's detailed data becomes a series of scientifically realistic flights that unfold on screen like a guided tour of the universe, through time and space."

"IMAX Hubble" is rated G.

Mini-Review:
This is one of those movies that is simply better to see on an IMAX screen and in 3D. In 2D on a home theater, no matter how nice it is, simply doesn't compare. But if you take away the 'Wow' factor of the big screen and the 3D, I have to say that I found this movie lacking in some areas.

While the title suggests that the Hubble telescope is the star of the movie, it's really the astronauts that are the stars. Director Toni Myers spends a lot of time on their training, their preparations for the repair missions, and the Shuttle rather than the telescope itself. I honestly expected more time to be spent on the history of the telescope, discussion about how it works, and big, beautiful shots of the images taken from the telescope. While that's there to some degree, it doesn't get as much screentime as the astronauts. You'll learn more about the telescope and its images from Wikipedia and the NASA website than you will from this movie.

"IMAX Hubble" also made recreations of the Hubble images for the 3D screen. But as I watched it, I started to really wonder about the scientific accuracy of the images. As the camera flies through space, the stars float on the screen like snowflakes (ala "Star Trek"). Then the massive nebulas and other astronomical features were recreated in CG, yet even those felt like Hollywood recreations. They seemed to be tweaked for the 3D screen more than anything. But I suppose NASA approved everything, so maybe it's closer to reality than I think.

If you're interested in "IMAX Hubble" for educational purposes, I think that there are probably better documentaries out there. But if your interest is in the Shuttle missions, the repair program, or discussions about what astronauts actually do in space, this might be more for you. And of course if you're a super-fan of Leonardo DiCaprio, add this to your collection.

There is one 'making of' bonus feature on this DVD. It's actually quite interesting as it shows all the logistical challenges of getting the big, unwieldy IMAX 3D cameras into positions to film these amazing scenes. I was impressed with the amount of time Myers took to film the missions over the years as well as the cooperation she had from NASA.

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