The IMAX Space Collection
Okay, first things first... watching an IMAX movie at home--regardless of the size of your television set, capabilities of your projector, or quality of your sound system--will never compensate for the gigantic 8-storey viewing surface and omnipresent killer sounds found in an IMAX theater. But, as is the case with the subject of The IMAX Space Collection, it's the next best thing to being there.
The Warner Home Video collector's set consists of 5 DVDs (also available on VHS) digitally mastered from the original 70mm film format, with each title clocking in at around 40 minutes. Hail Columbia! goes where no one had gone before: behind the scenes with Commander John Young and Pilot Robert Crippen, crew of STS-1 (April 12-14, 1981). Viewers relive the anticipation and excitement surrounding the historic launch of the space shuttle Columbia and its triumphant return to earth two days later, signifying a new chapter in the annals of space exploration.
The Dream Is Alive, narrated by Walter Cronkite, contains numerous breathtaking views of Earth shot during the shuttle Discovery's maiden voyage (STS-41D). Additional features include pre-mission preparations for, and in-flight execution of, satellite capture, repair, and redeployment. Blue Planet takes advantage of an astronaut's perspective to help its audience understand how natural forces such as hurricanes, volcanoes, and earthquakes affect the world on which we live. But it's when we see the impact of humans on our planet's fragile ecosphere that we are given cause to reflect.
Somewhat familiar with the exploration of the final frontier (or at least the term), Leonard Nimoy is our guide for Destiny In Space, which contains some out-of-this-world close-up footage of Discovery's exterior--captured by an IMAX camera mounted in a satellite positioned alongside the orbiter. Viewers also embark on a computerized 3D tour of Venus and Mars (thanks to surface scans transmitted by unmanned spacecraft), and witness the Hubble Space Telescope 5-day recovery and repair mission.
Mission To Mir highlights a few firsts in the history of humans in space: The first coverage of a Soyuz rocket launch (taking a fresh crew, including the first American, to Mir); the first shuttle docking (Atlantis STS-71) to take place at the Russian space station; and the 6-month occupancy of Mir by Shannon Lucid, the first American woman to take up residency there (she is also the current record holder for most flight hours in orbit by any woman). Space buffs will be happy to know there are numerous exterior and interior shots of the now expired station, as well as "day in the life" scenes that include a guitar accompanied international sing-along.
If, like me, you're an over-the-hill earthbound astronaut wannabe that doesn't have enough cash to be a space tourist, you'll find The IMAX Space Collection presents many hours of entertainment and education for young and old alike.
In other words... just sit back and marvel.