Destiny in Space (1994)

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Released 9-Jul-2002

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category IMAX Main Menu Audio
Featurette-Behind The Scenes-(9:40)
Theatrical Trailer-1.33:1, not 16x9, Dolby Digital 2.0 (1:16)
Trailer-IMAX Trailer (1:02)
Rating Rated G
Year Of Production 1994
Running Time 38:13
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 2,4 Directed By None Given
Studio
Distributor

Warner Home Video
Starring Leonard Nimoy
Case Amaray-Transparent
RPI $29.95 Music Micky Erbe
Maribeth Solomon


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame Full Frame English Dolby Digital 5.1 (384Kb/s)
Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1 (384Kb/s)
French Dolby Digital 5.1 (384Kb/s)
German Dolby Digital 5.1 (384Kb/s)
Swedish Dolby Digital 5.1 (384Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio None
16x9 Enhancement No
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.44:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English
French
German
Spanish
Dutch
Swedish
Polish
Hungarian
Portuguese
Greek
Czech
Turkish
Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

    Whilst I may not have seen Hail Columbia!, the previous DVD in this series of IMAX films reviewed, there is no doubt that I have seen this offering plenty of times! In fact, this is one of my favourite IMAX films and often gets two views whenever I visit Kennedy Space Center and Johnson Space Center. On the massive IMAX screen, the majesty and grandeur of this film is for me astounding and mesmerising. The translation to the small screen does impact upon this film more than some other IMAX films as a result. Still, having seen this on the big screen something like a dozen times or so, it is terrific that I can now just dig it out to watch whenever I have a spare forty minutes to kill.

    This is the middle release of the three titles now coming up for release, with the later Mission To Mir the only one remaining for review. The ten years it holds over the older Hail Columbia! are easily seen in just about every way. The additional experience with the IMAX camera and what it can capture is foremost amongst these, and the fact that this is the quality of imagery that can be obtained by a bunch of astronauts with minimal training - about 25 hours according to the featurette - is astounding. The bulk of the footage here was shot on mission STS-61, which was the first shuttle mission to repair the Hubble Space Telescope, fitting the lens correcting device to correct the imperfection in the original mirror. As a result we get to see plenty of footage of the repair mission, which is fascinating in its own right, but even more interesting is the footage taken from the IMAX camera fitted to a temporary satellite launched from the shuttle. This captured the first images of the shuttle taken from space. The rest of the programme includes computer generated imagery compiled from the various missions to Mars and Venus, providing one of the first attempts at showing what the landscapes would be like if we could actually visit them. Just to add into the mix are some excerpts from 2001: A Space Odyssey demonstrating some of the possibilities for manned, long duration spaceflight.

    Whilst at times the film very much comes over as a NASA promotional film of the ilk they might make to send to Congress to justify the continued space expenditure budgets and to support new budget proposals, I suppose that the benefit of the doubt has to be given. After all, there is no doubt that we do have a destiny in space, one that has been to some extent denied by the continued efforts of the human race to spend untold billions of dollars in trying to kill one another - we just need to be reminded of it pretty frequently. Trying to convince the world of that destiny is in many ways much the same as trying to get Congress to keep anteing up the dough for the American space programme.

    So come along for the ride and see what destiny we do have in space and how we might realise that destiny - and what we might see along the way. I for one would love to have the chance to walk on Mars, although I suspect my destiny might be a little closer to home - namely to see this film many more times! Oh, and if you want another good example of a shuttle launch, cop the one on this DVD - just remember to crank up the volume up to eleven!

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Transfer Quality

Video

    That IMAX appellation means of course that the original transfer was in an aspect ratio of 1.44:1 and designed for a rather massive screen. The DVD presentation presents a slightly cropped picture in an aspect ratio of 1.33:1. Whilst I could not swear to it, from my recollections of at least a dozen viewings of the film, nothing significant has been lost by the cropping. The transfer is naturally enough not 16x9 enhanced. Like Hail Columbia! before it, the transfer is in PAL format.

    Whilst the picture itself suffers surprisingly little from the compression down to a small screen size, the impact has been significantly diminished. On the big screen, some of the image almost appears life size with the result that the sheer size of the shuttle and the telescope is quite overpowering. Here it is just a little underpowering, so a little more imagination as to the impact has to be used. No imagination however is required with respect of the transfer itself, which is quite excellent in general. Despite the home video nature of much of the source material, the transfer is pretty sharp and very well defined throughout. Shadow detail is generally excellent, as is the general clarity here. There is certainly little in the way of grain issues here.

    The colours are a reflection of the more recent nature of the source material and are very nice indeed. Very nicely vibrant and with plenty of depth to the tones, with no indication at all of oversaturation or colour bleed.

    There did not appear to be any MPEG artefacts in the transfer. There are a few instances of minor aliasing, such as at 2:16, 22:04 and 27:55 - nothing really that bad but again such that it does hint at the fact that this might be an electronic NTSC to PAL conversion though. Unlike Hail Columbia!, the transfer is quite clean with very few instances of film artefacts to mar the enjoyment.

    There are twelve subtitle options on the DVD, and I checked out the English ones. It should be noted that the subtitles not only cover the main narration from old pointy ears himself, Leonard Nimoy, but also the background dialogue. There is a fair deal of missing dialogue from the background stuff, but nothing seriously missing with the main narration.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

    There are five soundtracks on the DVD, all being Dolby Digital 5.1 efforts. The language choices are English, Spanish, French, German and Swedish, which means that I stuck with listening to the English effort.

    The dialogue comes up well in the transfer and is clear and easy to understand. There does not appear to be any significant audio sync issues with the transfer.

    The original music comes from the usual combination of Micky Erbe and Maribeth Solomon. Typical too is the contribution the music makes to the film and it certainly does not detract from the whole experience.

    There again is not much to say about the soundtrack, other than it is a lot better than Hail Columbia!. There is significantly more body to the sound, never more evident than the additional bass demonstrated in the shuttle lift off. Certainly not in the demonstration class, but pretty good all the same. The only thing that could have perhaps have been better is the rear channel ambience, but then again I suppose there is not much of that in space!

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

    A few more extras make up the package here, although being greedy a bit more would have been nice.

Menu

    Nothing exciting and the audio enhancement is hardly wondrous.

Featurette - Behind The Scenes (9:40)

    Whilst hardly the most coherent piece of programming you will ever see, the interview snippets with some of the astronauts highlight what is a moderately interesting effort albeit one that is ultimately not entirely satisfying. Presented in an aspect ratio of 1.33:1, it is not 16x9 enhanced and comes with Dolby Digital 2.0 sound.

Theatrical Trailer (1:16)

    Presented in an aspect ratio of 1.33:1, it is not 16x9 enhanced and comes with Dolby Digital 2.0 sound. Technically very good and does a pretty good job of promoting the film.

Trailer - IMAX Trailer (1:02)

    Presented in an aspect ratio of 1.33:1, it is not 16x9 enhanced and comes with Dolby Digital 2.0 sound. The same basic advertisement for the general IMAX DVD range.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    As far as we are aware, this is identical to the Region 1 release.

Summary

    Destiny In Space is one of my favourites amongst the spacey IMAX films as evidenced by the fact that I have seen it so often. Its transfer to DVD loses much of the majesty and grandeur of the huge screen, which is only to be expected, yet surprisingly I still find this a pleasurable viewing experience. The transfer, whilst not absolute top draw, is certainly very good in general and if the subject matter is to your liking then there is no reason to hesitate to indulge.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Ian Morris (Biological imperfection run amok)
Sunday, June 30, 2002
Review Equipment
DVDPioneer DV-515, using S-Video output
DisplaySony Trinitron Wega (80cm). Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
AmplificationYamaha RXV-795
SpeakersEnergy Speakers: centre EXLC; left and right C-2; rears EXLR; and subwoofer ES-12XL

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