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Roving Mars

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Roving Mars + Five Years On Mars + Mars Rising
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Product Details

  • Directors: George Butler
  • Format: Multiple Formats, AC-3, Closed-captioned, Color, Dolby, Dubbed, Full Screen, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 5.1), French (Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo), Spanish (Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo)
  • Subtitles: Spanish, French
  • Dubbed: French, Spanish
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: G (General Audience)
  • Studio: Buena Vista Home Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: July 31, 2007
  • Run Time: 40 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (37 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000FIMG40
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #49,690 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Roving Mars" on IMDb

Special Features

Bonus Featurette: MARS AND BEYOND -- Walt Disney's 1957 Investigation Into The Mysteries Of The Universe And Space Travel

Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Action. Drama. Anticipation. Exultation. Experience it all as you join the Mars rovers Spirit and Opportunity for an awe-inspiring journey to the surface of the mysterious red planet. Through the eyes of these two intrepid, state-of-the-art rovers, and with NASA scientists and engineers at your side, you'll see Mars in a way no one ever has before. You'll feel what it's like to stand on the startling surface of the planet that's intrigued mankind for eons. ROVING MARS -- It's the ride of a lifetime.


When you consider the odds against success, the achievements on glorious display in Roving Mars are almost miraculous. This excellent IMAX production follows the familiar IMAX format; at 40 minutes in length, it's not as wide-ranging as other documentaries might be, but in chronicling the design, launch, and successful landings of NASA's robotic Mars rovers Spirit and Opportunity, it offers an unprecedented level of visual splendor, highlighted by amazingly accurate computer-animated depictions of what really happened when the rovers arrived at their destination. Financed by Disney, and combining the talents of veteran IMAX director George Butler and top-ranking Hollywood producer Frank Marshall (best known for his frequent collaborations with Steven Spielberg), this celebration of science and technology begins with a raspy introduction narrated by Paul Newman (who had recently voiced the character of "Doc" in Disney/Pixar's Cars), then dives right into the formidable challenge of launching and landing the rovers on time and budget, with a looming deadline of optimal Mars/Earth orbital alignment occurring only once every 26 months.

At NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, California, we see highly skilled engineers addressing every challenge and every possible contingency, and project leader Steve Squyers serves as our informative host and enthusiastic populist for space exploration. After launching in June and July of 2003, the rovers traveled for seven months and 300 million miles to Mars, landing on the red planet in January 2004. Every aspect of the mission is covered in concise detail, and tension escalates as touch-down (achieved with the now-familiar "bouncing balloon" landing system) draws near. What's most remarkable, even to the crew at JPL, is that Spirit and Opportunity succeeded far beyond their mission expectations, becoming one of NASA's most triumphant achievements in interplanetary exploration. The photos, chemical analyses, and other data gathered on Mars were intended to prove the past existence of water on Mars (and hence the possibility of life), and in this and many other respects, Roving Mars stands as a breathtaking tribute to the men, women, and robots who've given us a greater understanding of the planetary system we call home. --Jeff Shannon

On the DVD
Roving Mars is presented in both full-screen and widescreen formats, and is accompanied by two excellent bonus features. First up is "Mars: Past, Present, and Future," a 25-minute "making of" featurette that provides additional educational detail about our closest planetary neighbor, along with behind-the-scenes footage and interviews with key personnel at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory. Then comes the 50-minute featurette "Mars and Beyond," originally broadcast in 1957 as an episode of Walt Disney's popular Disneyland TV show. Typical of that series, it's a wildly imaginative, cleverly animated look at Mars and its significance in the history of mankind. Even after more than half a century, it's filled with scientific and speculative details that are sure to engage anyone's sense of wonder. --Jeff Shannon

Customer Reviews

3.9 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

29 of 31 people found the following review helpful By K. Kidder on June 19, 2007
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
We saw a clip of this video at the National Air & Space Museum--my kids, ages 3 and 5, were riveted! We searched the gift shop for the video but were disappointed that it had not yet been released. Several weeks later I came across it quite by accident on TV and taped it for my older son, who loves outer space and has been fascinated by Mars and the rovers since our trip to the museum. Most general audience space documentaries do not keep his attention, but he loved this one. The narration is almost conversational, not your typical dry, boring voiceover. The video is informative enough for adults and yet still accessible for kids. The images are amazing, no matter what your age. I look forward to adding this video to our collection so I can stop fast-forwarding the commercials on our tape!
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17 of 19 people found the following review helpful By PeterG.artist on January 3, 2008
Format: Blu-ray
I don't know how anyone could rate this film lower than five stars; unless they watched the film on a cheap TV with a small screen. `Roving Mars' on blu-ray blew me away by the quality of the IMAX HD cinematography focusing on the manufacturing of the rovers. I was captivated by a realistic depiction of what it takes to get a spacecraft to make a 300 million mile hole-in-one landing.

I had read a review on Netflix where the wannabe critique stated that they didn't like all the CGI; they probably didn't know that some of the extraordinary footage of the mars terrain was actual footage from the HD-quality cameras on-board the rovers. It might have helped the common laymen if the filmmakers had indicted where the CGI stopped and the actual footage from mars began. I've been so engrossed by the rover missions (NASA made all the rover stills, panoramas and video available for download to the public, ever since the missions began [...]) I knew when I was when observing actual film-footage from mars, but I hadn't witnessed the utter clarity of the videos by playback on the computer. I'm astounded by the fact that the rovers are still up there working after four years, and this DVD will have a special place in my heart and in my imagination for the rest of my life imprisoned here on the earth.

In reference to the low ratings listed here: pretty much all IMAX documentaries are less than 60 minutes because of the giant-size of the actual IMAX film used for projection in IMAX theaters. I think its well worth twenty-bucks. It's something you'll proudly enjoy showing to your friends; providing you have a quality TV screen or projector.
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35 of 45 people found the following review helpful By Mike Blaszczak on December 11, 2007
Format: DVD
I'm very excited about science and engineering. We can't take for granted the courage and brilliance it took NASA and its contractors to design, implement, and deploy the equipment for this mission, then exercise the robots for this mission. And they did it all for less than what we pay for a baseball stadium!

This 40-minute film is disappointing, however. It's short on science; there is no discussion of the launch planning, the path of the rover as it travels to Mars, or any interesting facts. What is its weight? How did the timing work? How did the engineers design the rover, and measure its performance? What materials were used in its implementation? What diagnostics did it have? How much power did it use? What challenges were involved in surviving the harsh Martian atmosphere, its cold, the dust, and its chemistry?

The questions I have are simple, and endless. This film addressed none of them, I'm afraid. Worse, as others have pointed out, there's very little actual footage from the rovers. Most of the CGI scenes are flawed -- seeing stars through the shadowed surface of the moon, for example.

I admire the engineers and explorers in our space programs as heroes. This film does them disservice by failing to tell their wonderful story.
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12 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Dsinned on August 26, 2007
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
I have seen several other DVDs on the Rovers, on PBS television shows, but this one came directly from a theatrical release in IMAX format and is by far the best of the best.

The "Roving Mars" DVD has both standard 4x3 and 16x9 (enhanced) formats. The latter fits a HDTV screen perfectly (1.78:1 aspect ratio) and looks superb when played from an upscaling or HD DVD player.

The introduction is narrated by a noticeably feeble voice over by Paul Neuman. However, the main storyline is covered by the Lead Scientist, Steve Skyiers, who does a great job explaining the Mars Rovers - there are two, Spirit and Opportunity - without beating you up with technospeak.

"Rovering Mars" is only 40 minutes, but there are two extras provided on the same DVD; a 1957 Disney TV program called "Mars And Beyond", which is quite dated and rather cartoonish. Fortunately, there is another extra about 25 minutes in duration, called "Mars: Past, Present and Future". The latter is just as good as the main feature, a bunch of extra scenes that for whatever reason were (needlessly) editted out of the IMAX film.

The filmmakers did a great job with the animated special effects to accurately depict what the actual rocket launcher liftoffs from Cape Kennedy, and departures from Earth's gravity would have looked like from space. The Martian landings took place many months later, about three weeks apart. Amazingly realistic computer graphics were used to make this movie!

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