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 The World of Film in Australia - on the Internet Updated Wednesday, October 18, 2017 

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L5: FIRST CITY IN SPACE

SYNOPSIS
Late in the 21st century a 'city' boasting a population of 10 000 has been established on a space station at L5 (a point on the moon's orbit where gravitational pull is close to zero). The city is entirely self-supporting - - utilising hydroponic gardens, rotation induced gravity and reflected light from a giant mirror. From this future perspective, we are taken on a history lesson of the previous 100-odd years of space exploration - - a hybrid of fact and reality-based science fiction. Our narrator and tour-guide is Chieko (Rachel Walker), who was born on L5 and is the granddaughter of one of the station's pioneers. We see Chieko as an endearing seven-year-old girl, although it is the adult Chieko who is narrating retrospectively. Computer generated imagery combines with actual data from the NASA probes Voyager and Galileo, and footage shot from the space shuttle, to provide a spectacular 3D Imax giant-screen production.

"I have to confess that before seeing 'L5: First City In Space' I was an Imax Theatre virgin. Like most virgins, I harboured high expectations, particularly as I was going all the way the first time - - to a 3D production. Obviously I was leaving myself vulnerable to being disappointed ... but I wasn't. Although I can't draw direct comparisons with other Imax productions, my guess is that if you've previously patronised a 2D screening you'll find the 3D experience twice as compelling (notwithstanding the arithmetical anomaly). Computer generated imagery is in abundance, but even more riveting is the genuine NASA-supplied footage. The 3D perspective can be a touch surreal at times, but it never ceases to enthrall. There is an unexplained virtual travel sequence (basically Star Trek's 'holodeck') that invites scepticism - - a small leap of faith for the credulous, a giant leap of gullibility required of everyone else - - but generally the film provides a realistic and absorbing glimpse into mankind's imminent future. The only other flaw is a lame attempt at drama. No androids are predicted for next century but a few could have easily substituted for the cast - - it's not a demanding script. At 34 minutes duration, however, a dashing narrative is hardly a necessity. L5: First City in Space is still a highly entertaining cinematic experience. "
Brad Green

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