Tony Myers (2002, IMAX Corporation)
Narrated by Tom Cruise
A journey to the International Space Station, from the launch of
its first component, its construction, and the first crews to live
View Count: Twice
March 2nd, 2003 on
the OmniMAX dome
I enjoyed this movie a little more
the second time around, being ready for the annoying narration, and able
to tune Cruise out.
I think the best narration could have come from
the astronauts themselves. The narration that they did give, experiences
mostly, were great, as (was it Bonnie Dunbar floating through the hatch?) "sometimes we bring them
a woman..." was hilarious.
The views from space, and the interiors of
the space station itself were terrific. Many of the same thoughts as I
expressed below occupied my mind while watching this film for the second
time. But this time, I was also aware of how beautiful the Space Shuttle
is, and how much I still feel for the tragedy of Columbia's
disintegration a month ago. It was amazing to see the shuttle flying and
launching, especially from within.
One thing that kept annoying me
was the way the shuttles were constantly different in every shot. The
narrator would be speaking about Endeavor, but Atlantis would be in the
picture, probably because it was a better "shot". It shouldn't be that
difficult to keep them straight.
The film could have been better,
but did a very good job, nevertheless.
December 1st, 2002
on the OmniMAX dome
Visually splendid, but without
enough substance, and Tom Cruise was just annoying.
Images from space- real images -are always breathtaking, and this movie
is no exception. Why do the producers start, then, with a computer
simulation? It is an obvious simulation, and sets the tone for the movie
The film shows the assembly of the International Space Station in
chronological order, so that we see the first launch of the first
components, then more and more until the station is habitable. I guess
there are only so many ways to capture a launch. The Russian launches
were really cool, since I have never seen one of those on IMAX before.
The Space Shuttle launches were nowhere near as neat and inspiring as
in, say, The Dream is Alive. Only one shot stood out -as filmed from the
orbiter window at launch. That is probably as close as most people will
get to being inside the shuttle during those first eight minutes, and it
The astronauts this time were not as interesting as they could be. It
was nice that the film-makers sought to capture a very international
flavor, including Canadian, Italian, and Japanese astronauts along with
the American and Russians who pretty much run the station. The
astronauts had some neat moments, but most of it we have seen before,
with the floating and eating, and so on. They didn't make it very
interesting, even when operating the robot arm. Tossing the large water
containers was one of the best parts.
It was neat to see the Canadarm logo so large on the screen, so dominant
on the shots outside the station. That arm really dwarfs the smaller
shuttle arm! The station is the main attraction and the title character
in this film, so it is fitting that the only real awe we feel here is
with regards to its assembly. We get to share the feeling of amazement
when the astronauts first enter; with everything still stowed, and few
equipment racks even present, the station looks huge! That first crew
must have had a massive playground for weightlessness! Also amazing are
the views of new equipment arriving. Most of it just barely fits through
the doorways, obviously designed for a perfect fit.
I would have rather done with no narration, instead of the stupid
statements and tones that Tom Cruise provided. His dimwitted commentary
really detracted from the film. His statements were all completely flat,
his jokes falling flatter, and what is supposed to be awe comes off
bored. The way he recites facts like the weight of the station, or the
biographies of the crew make me think he was sleeping at the time. Yuck
-this is the perfect way to ruin a movie.
Still, the images from space were impressive, as always. The interior of
the station was fascinating, and it's always fun to see a launch,
especially of the Russian rocket.
I wonder if expectation has too much to do with my impression of the
film. I might see it again, now that I have been disillusioned about
this being the best space movie ever, as some have proclaimed. A little
less expectation might improve the film. We shall see.