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Superlative Space Shuttle DVD, With Stunning Launch Footage!
on February 20, 2004
"The Dream Is Alive" is a beautifully-done, albeit fairly short (36 minutes), IMAX film.
Narrated expertly (as usual) by veteran newscaster Walter Cronkite, this program takes the viewer into space via NASA's remarkable Space Shuttle Orbiters. We see the astronauts working, eating, and sleeping in the vacuum of space, as they orbit hundreds of miles above our Earth at a speed of 17,500 MPH.
We also see three breathtaking Shuttle launches (including one beautiful nighttime lift-off) from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida, all of which are photographed from different viewpoints and with crystal-clear clarity. These launches look magnificent on this DVD release!
This program was originally filmed in 1984. In addition to the copyright date on the packaging (which is actually 1985), we can tell the timeframe of this footage by the missions being photographed for the program -- including STS-41-C (launched on April 6, 1984), which was a mission of historical significance, marking the first time a satellite had ever been repaired in space.
Another Shuttle mission we get a first-hand, in-space glimpse of is STS-41-D, which took to the skies on August 30, 1984.
Sadly, two of the astronauts we see performing their duties in this IMAX presentation (Francis Scobee and Judy Resnik) were lost in the Challenger disaster less than two years after the filming of this program.
The DVD gives us a good 5.1 Dolby Surround soundtrack; while the video is presented in Full Frame (1.33:1), which is the original aspect ratio of the film.
In addition to the splendid-looking (and sounding) launches, we also see some rather unique camera angles while the Shuttle is landing (one sequence filmed from -- I think -- one of the "chase" planes that always fly alongside the spacecraft as it's landing). Great footage here!
There's also time given to provide some gorgeous pictures of our blue and green planet as photographed by the Shuttle astronauts on their various missions. The "Pause" function on the ol' DVD Player comes in handy when viewing these pretty Earthly images. You can "pause" them with perfect clarity too. Not a sign of blurriness to be found. Ah, the beauty of DVD. :)
The "pause" button is also great for freeze-framing the spectacular launch footage shown here as well. Just like a picture postcard it is. :)
Even with its brief running time, there's still plenty here for space fanatics to sink their teeth into.
This is one space-related DVD to watch over and over again. A class act all the way.