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Hubble 3D (2010) ***

April 22, 2010

  

 

   

directed by: Toni Myer 

rated G 

43 min. 

U.S. release date: April 23, 2010 

It’s no coincidence that there are two movies coming out this weekend that focus on the third rock from the sun, After all, it is the weekend following Earth Day. One film takes you into the depths of the Earth’s oceans (I plan on seeing that with my family this weekend) while the other film gives you a view of our planet that few humans have seen. Director Toni Myers (“Under the Sea” producer) takes us into the blackness of space in all its silent and cold majesty. Floating above our home, the film follows the Hubble telescope, the amazing images it has captured and the various space-shuttle missions that have maintained such a behemoth.   

 

“Hubble 3D” is a documentary that jettisons the audience into outer space, where they will experience the most breathtaking and frightening 43 minutes in an IMAX theater. If there ever was a subject to experience in IMAX 3D, this is it. Many current releases advertise they are in 3D when in they are actually not filmed in 3D, merely tacked on in post-production to join the fad. But this, this is the real deal , folks and it simply awesome. From the shuttle launches to the billions of stars zooming past your 3D glasses, this subject matter and format is a cosmic marriage like no other. 

 

The footage here is compiled from a variety of sources and compiled in different ways to build dramatic effect.  But all of it was filmed in IMAX, from service missions back in 1993 to as recent as May, 2009. Not all the footage is in space though. There’s footage of the crew during training sessions in Florida with a life-size replica of Hubble underwater to simulate the zero gravity experience of space.  It’s the beauty of outer space that is the highlight of this documentary though. To see a star nursery just beneath Orion’s belt millions of miles away is mind-blowing. It is literally like witnessing an intergalactic womb in its most vulnerable stage. Watching how these men and women train and witnessing what they see out there in the Great Beyond reminded me of the wonder of space travel. 

This film would be just another science documentary at the planetarium if it weren’t for the human connection provided. Viewers need to see the dangers these brave astronauts face in order to appreciate the high stakes of such a mission. Such drama is provided when the focus is on one of the last missions to repair and upgrade Hubble back in 2008. Despite all the technology at their disposal, these pioneers must still exit the safety of the shuttle and tend to these repairs by hand. Most of this involves unscrewing bolts on a panel by hand, which is described as “grasping a toothpick with an oven mitt on”. Yeah, you try that.  And now think about how your only view, as you are floating in space, is that of a gigantic blue planet, your home.  It’s just you and your partner between Earth and your space shuttle in a situation just as intense as one you’d see in “The Hurt Locker”.  Yes, the stakes are life and death here since just one puncture in their glove could result in loss of oxygen and death. 

 

The only downsides are the length and Leonardo DiCaprio’s narration. I was captivated to the point where I felt like it ended too soon but nevertheless, I left the theater thinking about my place in the universe. DiCaprio’s delivery seemed kinda flat, even boring at times. Narration should never take away from what we are viewing but it should accent the drama of what we see and serve as a guide on a fantastic voyage. Someone with a stronger presence was needed. James Earl Jones and Morgan Freeman can’t narrate everything though. Still, this is the rare IMAX 3D film that is worth the extra dough. Despite the length, it is still an experience to remember. It’s easy to allow a film like this to challenge your perspective on life and what you thought you knew about the universe. We think “it’s a small world” when in actuality, we are the ones feeling small after viewing such an amazing film.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. windi permalink
    April 22, 2010 10:30 pm

    Sounds like I need to see if this is playing around here and take the boys this weekend. 🙂

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