Some of the most challenging spacewalks ever performed are filmed by the astronauts themselves, using IMAX 3D cameras. The film delivers imagery from the heart of the Orion Nebula and the Milky Way to the edge of the observable universe, and provides an insight into the Hubble Space Telescope's legacy, highlighting its profound impact on the way we view the universe and ourselves.
Review by Louise Keller:
Star gazing with Leonardo DiCaprio is an awesome out of this world experience. On the giant Imax screen in breathtaking 3D, this is probably the closest you or I will ever come to space travel. Narrated by DiCaprio, this documentary about the intricate, complex space mission to make repairs to the giant eye of the Hubble Space Telescope, 350 miles above the Earth, is both extraordinary and stimulating. Educational and entertaining in equal parts, we travel at 150 trillion miles per second into 100 billion galaxies far, far away, where we are removed from the reality of our everyday existence. The scale is unimaginable as we become privy to the secret life of the stars.
There's a rainbow in the sky in April 2009, as we watch the astronauts prepare for their high-tech mission. We hear their thoughts as they prepare for launch. While the complexities of the process implemented to calculate and design the rectification of a faulty lens to the world's first space-based observatory is not even canvassed, we watch in fascination as underwater training prepares the team for their multifaceted task. As the count down for Space Shuttle Atlantis' take off begins, the hairs on the back of my neck stood up. I could almost smell the fumes as the gigantic flames resembling a furnace and dense, billowing smoke clouds mar our vision. Then we are hurtling through endless space, where the sun rises and sets every 90 minutes. From tiny cameras in the astronauts' helmets, in temperatures of minus 200 degrees, we watch the equivalent of brain surgery with oven mitts as the space walks and repairs take place.
The beauty about the film is that we can take as little or as much as we like from the experience. There's a universe of information to be gleaned or we can simply sit back and be transported into the dazzling revelation of billions of galaxies, each of which contain billions of diamond-like stars. Either way, it is impossible not to feel a sense of awe about the world in which we live, albeit intimidated by the vast scale of the universe and our own virtual insignificance. Recommended.
Review by Andrew L. Urban:
This is space travel in your cinema seat, an extraordinary insight into the cosmos thanks to the Hubble telescope parked in space. It's an extraordinary feat of engineering, but nothing compared to the engineering of 100 billion galaxies, each with billions of stars. The journey begins at Cape Canaveral and ends at the outer reaches of the observable universe; all in the space of 40 minutes and without having to wear a space suit with its suction pump fittings for going to the toilet - info thanks to one of the astronauts.
The crew who shot the footage and the work that they do are also remarkable, but it's those high resolution clouds of colourful gas and dust stretching billions of kilometres against the blackdrop of space that haunt our memory. That and the vast power that is held and unleashed by these fiery stars.
Leonardo DiCaprio's narration is smooth, unobtrusive and informative and the effect of 3D is immersive - and at times exceptionally beautiful. Butterfly shaped gases in orange hues are the aftermath of a massive star explosion. Millions of pinpoints rush towards us as we move through space, like glittering diamantes; and as we reverse our journey, the Hubble view gives us layers upon layers of galaxies and stars interwoven, mesmerising and awe inspiring. Hubble was meant to be a window into outer space and this is our chance to share it with the 10,000 people who helped build it over 10 years.
Best part of all, after becoming blasť about CGI effects in movies that pretend to take us into other galaxies far far away, we know this is for real. It's one time the word awesome is really valid.
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HUBBLE 3D (G)
NARRATION: Leonardo DiCaprio
PRODUCER: Toni Myers
DIRECTOR: Toni Myers
CINEMATOGRAPHER: James Neihouse
RUNNING TIME: 43 minutes
AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: IMAX
AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: August 12, 2010 (Sydney, Melbourne)
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