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4.2 out of 5 stars
IMAX: Hubble 3D [Blu-ray]
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185 of 191 people found the following review helpful
on February 24, 2011
Format: DVDVerified Purchase
I've been an astronomy buff ever since I was a small child. So, when I learned that the Denver Museum of Nature and Science was showing a new IMAX movie about the Hubble Space Telescope, I had to see it. The theater hadn't yet upgraded to a 3D projection system, so the version I saw was in 2D. Believe me, that was plenty good enough.

It is said that Hubble is the most famous telescope ever built, and there are about 20 years' worth of fabulous cosmic images to prove it. When NASA initially announced that it was too dangerous for the Space Shuttle to make one last Hubble servicing mission to do needed repairs and upgrades, a lot of us went into mourning. And when they changed their minds, we rejoiced.

The movie is partly about the 2009 servicing mission, along with archival footage from earlier missions. This part is interesting, but not particularly new to me -- the PBS science program Nova has done at least one hour-long segment which goes into much greater detail. We get to meet the seven very brave astronauts who were literally willing to risk their lives to get the job done. Space is a dangerous place, and a single careless slip of the hands can lead to a sliced glove and a fatal loss of suit pressure.

Also, two space shuttles have been lost over the years, along with 14 astronauts, so they had a backup shuttle on the pad just in case a rescue mission was needed. Thankfully, it wasn't.

We learn a few fun things about life in orbit, such as how to make a chicken burrito in microgravity, and how to get ready for a space walk. I discovered that, even though space is silent, the sounds of power tools can be transmitted through a space suit, to be picked up by the helmet microphone.

Where the movie really shines, however, is when they show footage of the Earth from orbit, and especially when they begin to explore the cosmos. Decades of effects-laden blockbuster films have tended to jade us, but what we see in Hubble IMAX is real, as seen from the Hubble Space Telescope itself.

I about lost it when the camera began to zoom in on Orion's Belt, and slowly the Orion Nebula swam into view. It was as if we were spanning lightyears, at warp speed, in mere seconds. Then the camera began to explore an enormous cosmic valley with walls of gas and dust, some 15 lightyears across, hollowed out by fierce interstellar winds and dotted with infant solar systems dubbed "tadpoles" by scientists. One particular system looked like a tiny golden gem swathed in a huge, black nest, and might well resemble our own solar system aeons ago when the planets were just beginning to form.

What struck me more than anything else was how uniquely privileged our generation is, of all the generations in human history. The ancients could gaze up in awe at the stars from their campfires and make up poems and stories, but only we, thanks to telescopes like Hubble, can see such stunningly beautiful images of planets, stars, nebulae, galaxies, even the entire visible universe looking like a piece of gauze, the strands sprinkled liberally with gem dust.

I was struck also by the fact that there was hardly a peep from any of the children in the audience. They were all paying rapt attention.

I've never before seen any IMAX movie more than once. So far, I've seen Hubble three times. My most recent trip was to a 3D showing at a local cineplex. That was a plus. Now, as the camera zoomed, the stars actually came out of the screen at me. The 2009 shuttle footage, presumably shot in 3D, was incredibly real -- I was tempted to reach out and try to touch the astronauts' equipment as they got ready for a space walk. Archival footage, most likely converted to 3D, had a peculiar, subtle flatness to it I've dubbed 2-1/2D. It just didn't look quite right. I'm sure the producers did their very best, but the technology is still evolving.

A note on the music: The film featured two familiar tunes -- "Somewhere, Over the Rainbow" and "What a Wonderful World". I would have loved to have heard, respectively, the original Judy Garland and Louis Armstrong versions. However, what appeared in the film did the job -- and I can't get the tunes out of my head.

In conclusion, this movie is well worth watching, if you're into astronomy or if you have kids who are. I'm seriously looking forward to the DVD. Even in 2D, it will be worth it. For the first time, I can imagine why someone would want a giant-screen TV in their house. If ever I come into a large amount of money, maybe I'll build my own IMAX theater in the basement.
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159 of 171 people found the following review helpful
on June 8, 2011
Format: Blu-ray
Excellent 3D bluray to keep on your shelf and showcase the power of your 3DTV.. I'm going to make this review short and sweet and to the point. You can find this at Best Buy for half the retail price as Amazon. Unless they choose to price match, I recommend going to your local BB for the purchase. Just a friendly suggestion, I'm a loyal Amazon fan, but not at the sacrifice of assisting fellow shoppers on a great deal.
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38 of 39 people found the following review helpful
Format: Blu-ray
This IMAX 3D movie is not only the best use of 3D that I've seen on my new set up but it's also a fantastic film in its own right. The 3D isn't a 'gimmick' added just to cash in; it's clearly an important tool that scientists use especially when dealing with the vastness of 3D space. The fact that there's gorgeous stereoscopic footage of the original shuttle launch shows that even back then it was considered an essential part of documenting important events.

I've yet to see a more mind-numbing film which educates and informs and yet puts you in your rightful place, showing just how insignificant we all are. And whilst we are shown as naught more than a spec, we are also reminded of how special and unique we are. To aid this goal the narrative is exquisite with planets, stars even entire galaxies referenced in a very human way in so much as to their birth, their childhood and their ultimate demise. The 3D nebula are incredible as are the shots of the Hubble Telescope that enabled them to be discovered.

I bought this video to show off my set up - quite a shallow goal. I'm a changed person for having seen it.
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42 of 48 people found the following review helpful
Format: Blu-ray
Like the Last Airbender, this Blu Ray 3D disc is, at least initially, an exclusive of another large electronics retailer. As with many Blu Ray 3D discs, the package includes a 3D BD, 2D BD, DVD and digital copy. (All of this could be provided on a 2-sided, single disc, with 3D/2D BD on one side and DVD/digital copy on the other, but that is obviously not as fiscally advantageous to the distributor.)

The 3D images in space were shot using an IMAX 3D film camera to document the final repairs to the Hubble Space Telescope in particular, but also the NASA Space Shuttle program in general, which will come to an end in July, 2011, for future generations. No future Hubble repairs will be possible as our ability to do heavy lifting for space delivery will end with the last shuttle unless private space companies rise to fill the gap. As such this 3D Blu Ray disc gets the job done well in 40 minutes. There are also many additional 2D segments which are all worth watching.

The 3D image is spectacular, as might be expected from IMAX. The camera is in a static position on the shuttle with the astronauts moving around in front of it for a given sequence. Presumably the camera was too big to hand hold. There are no trick shots, just documentary-type 3D, and it is very nice.

Of additional interest are the 3D images created from Hubble 2D images of distant, distant galaxies -- the thing Hubble was created to do. So the observer gets to "fly" through the cloud-like cosmic cradles where stars are born. This part of the disc was, to me, jaw-droppingly unexpected, and a very real reason to buy this 3D BD.

I dropped one star from the rating because of the number of 2D extras on the disc. 3D digital cameras are now small enough that many extras could have been shot in 3D. The quality would not have matched the IMAX 3D image, but would have made the cost of this short 3D Blu Ray disc more justifiable.
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42 of 49 people found the following review helpful
on February 27, 2011
Format: DVD
I saw this movie last night and am still in awe at what the space program has done and also how IMAX filmed this incredible movie. I worked for NASA during the development of Hubble and felt pride (and goosebumps) seeing it put into place in this film. Amazing to witness and see the stress on the astronaut's faces as they were being dressed in their flightsuits just a few hours from liftoff.

It also left me a little sad that we're so blessed to live on such a beautiful, miraculous planet and to know how society (and terrorists) are trying its best to ruin life on this planet Earth.

I've just ordered my copy; can't wait to share it with family and friends.
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45 of 55 people found the following review helpful
on April 4, 2011
Format: Amazon Instant Video
If you are looking for the many amazing images that Hubble has captured of the universe, this is not for you. I was hoping for gasp after gasp floating through space listening to scientific speculation about Hubble's findings. And you get about 10 minutes of that. The majority of the picture is about astronauts fixing a few bolts and panels in space.
I am sure there are those out there for whom that is fascinating. Please enjoy.
If you are looking for Hubble's magnificent images go to the NASA page or do a Google search. You will have more luck than in this video.
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23 of 28 people found the following review helpful
on December 20, 2012
Format: Blu-rayVerified Purchase
After watching it, I felt that Imax Hubble 3D failed to meet the experience expected of an Imax 3d movie. I don't want to make strong comment, but I would say that I felt cheated of my money. Why?

Visual Experience:
On outer space scenes, the point of view and movement of the camera were very limited, which kept showing the same angle, the back of astronauts fixing the telescope, understandably so, since it is extremely difficult to get a footage from moving camera in outer space outside the shuttle. So the main outer space scenes are mostly static and boring, and shown repeatedly, which didn't really bring out the advantage of Imax 3d camera. With today's standard of filming, this is a major flaw, it's like watching footage of a surveillance camera.

Next thing, scenes are switching back and forth from full hd to low-res and cropped footage of astronaut fixing the telescope's parts. I wondered why such editing style? I paid handsome price of Imax 3d blu ray to enjoy the experience and visual. Not low-res and extremely low-res in someparts .

Other than visual, the information and education materials conveyed in this documentary, none are really new to public knowledge about living in outer space. Underwater training, space diets, etc. The documentary team could do better by exploring deeper aspects of living in outer space, peculiar stuffs that public don't already know.

The Best Part:
The best part of it is ironically the 3d animation / simulation of a galaxy, which isn't directly produced by hubble. And it is short.

3D effect:
3D effect is nothing special. None of the scene is noteworthy, it didn't make significant difference in experience nor making the audience understand the space quest better.

My Conclusion:
For children or audience that is relatively new to space journey, this documentary may be acceptable. But for intermediate audience and above, and if you're looking for 'wow' moment, meaningful information, and thrills. Well, this is not for you. I am honestly surprised that this title made it to Imax 3D collection, other than the fact that it was shot in space, nothing is special or worth the price tag.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on September 1, 2012
Format: Blu-ray
I guess I expected more space views and views from the Hubble for the price paid. It was interesting to watch once but I don't feel it was worth the cost.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on August 27, 2010
In May of 2009, the crew of Space Shuttle "Atlantis" oversaw the fifth and final service mission of the Hubble Space Telescope, known to NASA as STS-125 or Hubble Space Telescope Servicing Mission 4. The mission called for delicate repairs and state-of-the-art upgrades, including the instillation of the Cosmic Origins Spectrograph (to study the formation and evolution of galaxies) and the Wide Field Camera 3 (which captures images on the visible spectrum). The crew also had to replace one of the telescope's three Fine Guidance Sensors, six gyroscopes, and two battery unit modules. The mission was a success, completed in less than thirteen days. Because of the crew's efforts, Hubble will continue to operate until at least 2014, when it's expected to be replaced by the James Webb Space Telescope.

IMAX's "Hubble 3D," narrated by Leonardo DiCaprio, is in part a documentation of this mission, made possible due to the IMAX Space Team and the specially designed IMAX 3D camera. While hardly an exhaustive account - which is just as well, since it would mean having to endure confusing technobabble and a slew of acronyms known only to NASA personnel - we're shown some impressive spacewalk and repair footage, aided greatly by the ever-present backdrop of Earth. We also get some insightful, if brief, moments with the "Atlantis" crew, including a demonstration of how to dress for a spacewalk, a discussion of some of the tools they will be using, and an amusing look at what an astronaut can eat and how it's made possible. There's a general sense of enthusiasm amongst the seven astronauts, although that may have more to do with the camera crew than with the actual mission.

We don't get a detailed history of the Hubble itself. Its original 1990 launch, for example, and the subsequent three-year odyssey to repair its design flaw are mentioned in passing, drastically downplaying the time, money, and effort that was spent to get it working properly. You have to understand that this is by no means a cheap piece of machinery; its initial cost was estimated at around $400 million, and that figure has only increased with time. With so much invested in it, there was an understandable backlash when it was apparent that there was an error with the optical system, the returned images failing to achieve sharp focus. The cause of the problem was the telescope's primary mirror, which had been ground to the wrong shape - the edges were off measurement by 2,200 nanometers, and to give you some perspective, a single nanometer is about 1/100th the width of a human hair. The flaw was corrected in 1993 during Service Mission 1, known as STS-61, with the instillation of specially designed corrective optics.

Since then, Hubble has captured a number of remarkable images. Because of its orbit outside the distortion of Earth's atmosphere, there's virtually no background light, allowing for the sharpest quality pictures. Consider the Ultra Deep Field image, which captures a small section of space in the constellation Fornax and is composited from four months worth of data; it reveals a cluster of galaxies of all shapes, ages, and colors, and it remains to this day the deepest image of space ever captured, looking back approximately 13 billion years. The film takes data similar to this and transforms it into breathtaking computer generated flights through distant regions of space. One scene in particular takes us into the Orion Nebula, where a massive group of stars form in a crevice that spans 90 million light years. Given time, some of those stars may form solar systems very much like our own.

This is the second part of what "Hubble 3D" is: An awe-inspiring journey, a deeply thought-provoking foray into the great unknown. It has the power to make you think, to raise questions about ourselves, about where it all came from, about what it all means. It wisely avoids speculation; it merely presents the material as is, and your mind does the rest. The fact that it's all presented in 3D only adds to the wonder. Plenty has been said about James Cameron's "Avatar" - and I've certainly contributed - but "Hubble 3D" is by far the best 3D film I've ever seen. Never have I felt so deeply immersed, so entirely a part of the world projected up on the screen. It reaches a level so rarely reached by the hordes of 3D movies released on conventionally sized screens.

If there is a weakness to "Hubble 3D," it's that it doesn't spend enough time on its subject. It clocks in at a measly forty-five minutes - on television, that would amount to an hour-long special. I would have greatly appreciated an expansion of telescope's history, including who designed it, how it was funded, when it was built, how it affected popular culture, and so on. The images it has captured, after all, are the reason we can create such accurate computer generated maps of nebulas and galaxies. I don't believe we can truly appreciate the contributions the Hubble has made without first knowing what went into making them possible. Sure, any book or internet site can fill you in on the details, but if you're already at the theater, you might as well learn everything you need to know there.
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on March 30, 2011
Format: DVD
"Hubble" takes us out into space viewing through the eyes of the famous space telescope, Hubble. The 3D documentary is narrated by Leonardo DiCaprio and tells the tale of the telescope's origins, threats, successes, and the tale of one mission taken by astronauts to make some important improvements on it so it doesn't suddenly fall to Earth one day.

"Imax Hubble" would undoubtedly be fascinating in 3D, I missed the screening for it. As soon as the introduction gets away from the astronauts and worries on Planet Earth, we are guided by Leo's voice into a rose cloud 90 trillion miles across where stars are made and "baby stars are nested in cocoons" where each cocoon holds their own solar system in Orion's nursery. It looks like something that could have been made up for a science fiction movie, but this is actual footage taken from the impressive Hubble space telescope. It's beautiful and dreamy.

After showing off what Hubble can do, the film brings up the dangers of keeping Hubble out in space and the daring mission proposed to increase its longevity. It is very interesting to see how this all works, especially if you are really into space or interested in becoming an astronaut. Otherwise, it's like watching mechanics in giant suits work on a giant structure you can't even begin to comprehend how it works.

Watching the DVD at home without the 3D did make me want to snooze a little. The calming voice of Leonardo DiCaprio combined with astronauts talking to each other through their helmets made my eyelids flutter a few times. Then oooh, back to pretty pictures! But I still felt sleepy watching them....and there was some overuse of that Hawaiian "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" song. This DVD is only 44 minutes long so just as I was about to conk out, it was over. For sure the highlight of the film was the rose cloud less than halfway through.

Bonus Features:

"Inside Imax Hubble 3D" has interviews with people involved on the project and shows the Imax camera. If this feature wasn't so concerned with the making of the film, the interviews about the mission itself could have been added to the feature. Oh, if you leave the menu on too long while you're typing your automatically starts the movie again.

I know these films are very expensive to make, but the suggested retail price of $27.98 sounds extreme to me for a forty-four minute film.
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