dir Toni Myers|
narrator Tom Cruise
with William Shepherd, Sergei Krikalev, Yuri Gidzenko, Susan Helms, Marsha Kivens, Koichi Wakata, Pamela Melroy, Yuri Lonchakov, Janet Kavandi, Yury Usachev, James Kelly, Leroy Chiao
release US/UK 27.Apr.02
Watching the first Imax space movie shot in 3D is a mind-bogging experience, simply because it feels so real! After about the first 20 seconds, I can't imagine anyone in the audience not wishing they were astronauts. It's that astounding--outer space imagery that is not a special effect; it looks better than anything you've seen in a sci-fi flick, ever. The film covers the first year of construction on the International Space Station, including several launches both from Kennedy in Florida and Baikonur in Kazakhstan, with multi-national crews. Leaving one camera with the station crew and sending another back and forth with the shuttles, we get to see everything both from inside and out--preparations, lift-offs (including one amazing shuttle blast-off), spacewalks with Earth as a backdrop, life inside the station, and some early experiments in the lab there.
The narration is by Tom Cruise, who's more than a little giddy about all of this, and a bit smug and macho as well. But his enthusiasm is infectious, as he reflects our own desire to get out there and float. The 3D is absolutely amazing and refreshingly restrained; most of the best clips seem almost accidental, as the astro and cosmonauts play around with the camera, floating zero-G objects (including themselves) into our laps. In fact, the crew members all seem to have such great personalities that we wish the filmmakers had dwelt more on them, their after-hours antics, their camaraderie and their serious skills. We get glimpses of all of this, reinforced by the narration, but we want to really see it. That's a small complaint though for a film as involving and enveloping as this--sweeping views, technological wonder, human triumph. I'd board a Russian rocket in a heartbeat after seeing this.
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