Hail Columbia (IMAX)
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Journey behind the scenes for the thrilling maiden voyage of the world's first space shuttle.]]>
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Video on this DVD is Full-Frame (1.33:1); with Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound audio provided.
I would have enjoyed a little more close-up footage of the Columbia orbiter during this IMAX program; and a few additional images of Earth as seen from Columbia would also have been a plus. But, overall, I enjoyed this IMAX presentation very much, and find myself re-visiting this disc quite often. The few pictures we do get from the Shuttle while in orbit are indeed spectacular. Freeze-frame comes in handy for these few short scenes. And they're crystal-clear as well.
A unique angle of Columbia's maiden liftoff on Sunday, April 12, 1981, is shown on the DVD, with impressive picture and sound quality. The very first Shuttle landing is also covered (sonic booms and all).
The youthful exuberance of Columbia's two-man crew (Commander John Young and Pilot Robert Crippen) is visibly demonstrated in this film after their incredible spacecraft completed its two-day, one-million-mile journey around the Earth. Following their impressive landing on Runway 23 at California's Edwards Air Force Base on April 14, 1981, the astronauts did everything but kick the tires as they walked around the orbiter with an unrestrained enthusiasm which seemed similar in nature to a young boy's realization that his first roller-coaster ride was a truly fun experience after all. (Heck, maybe John and Bob DID actually kick the Shuttle tires after the landing, too.Read more ›
I think they were just starting the concept when this film was made, as IMAX cameras weren't actually taken into space until later missions. As a result, much of the in-space and pre-flight training footage sourced here comes from 16mm film and T.V. The negative upshot of this is that on some TV screens, the footage will look a bit small and boxy.
But like I said: This film was the prelude before the "main event" IMAX space movies to come later. And it's worth the price alone to see Astronauts John Young and Bob Crippen confidently dismiss the nervous-nellies asking nagging questions about the Shuttle's troublesome heatshield tiles!
The story it tells is a good one and it provides a glimpse back to the time when the shuttle was a new thing and there was a lot of uncertainty about it. The questions by the press give you some idea, especially John Young's frank response to the repeated questions about the shuttle tiles. History proved him right for the most part (as it was RCC damage that doomed Columbia on STS-107, not HRSI tile damage) but back then nobody exactly knew what was going to happen. That is what test pilots fly the machines for.
Now I have often wondered just what witnessing a real launch of a shuttle might be like. Thankfully I was able to achieve that milestone this past year. As a result, I can say that Hail Columbia comes as close as it can. The camera placements are much closer then one could even get at the press site which is about four miles away from the pads (or in some cases they seem to be at least). When this movie was shown at the OMNIMAX dome in Hutchinson (OMNIMAX was a term used for the dome theaters back in the 1980s while most IMAX theaters were flat screens) the audio of the liftoff literally shook the seats! It truely did feel like you were sitting less then a mile from the pad almost.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
For those of you looking for videos of the shuttle program this DVD and IMAX film "The Dream is Alive" are great to watch.Published 3 months ago by Jeff
Hail Columbia is an excellent movie. If you have good speakers it makes it even better.Published 6 months ago by nolan4
Great look into the history of the NASA Shuttle Program
I have seen this screened in OMNIMAX/IMAX Dome last year as well as on this DVD (Please release it on Blu-ray! Read more
excellent presentation -- a must-see. Great production values, informative and exciting. One of the best IMAX films ever made. Most highly recommended.Published on October 12, 2013 by Sandy Mosteller
As one who was involved with the Shuttle program, this video was "as good as it can get".
Great footage, good perspective, and the right perspective. Read more
In many ways, the first launch of the new Space Shuttle was one of the riskiest things NASA did. Unlike earlier manned spacecraft, the Space Shuttle had no prior unmanned test... Read morePublished on February 18, 2011 by Andrew
I bought this DVD because ever since the mid 80's when Challenger's flights began to take the spotlight, I realized that Columbia was something special. Read morePublished on June 5, 2008 by R. Adams
Concur with most of the other reviewers. If you look at this as an IMAX movie you'll be disappointed. Read morePublished on November 18, 2007 by Charles P. Kalina