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 ›
In Hail Columbia!, we are taken back in time to the first Shuttle mission, that of Columbia on STS-1. Or at least back in time from today's perspective.
We start out with some footage of the Shuttle being assembled, some press footage of the crew, John Young and Robert Crippen, the launch itself, and the landing at Edwards Air Force Base in California. There is very little material from on-orbit. Although not stated in the movie, both astronauts were very busy on this flight and had little time to take photographs and shoot film.
This is not an IMAX film as you might expect to see today. All of the footage was shot in 1981 and released as this film in 1982. It is definitely a product of the times. Footage shows how thousands of people gathered to witness the launch and landing, people who were proud of the accomplishments of the space program and American ingenuity. (Unlike today when most people complain that space exploration is a waste of money and no one should care.)
The film does not really stand up to later NASA IMAX films such as The Dream is Alive. I was not keeping track, but I am sure around half, if not more, of the footage in the film was not true IMAX film. Because of this, I do feel the film is a bit dated.
One thing I liked about it is how it showed the optimism of the period. People expected the Shuttle to do great things and make spaceflight more routine and cheaper. The Challenger disaster five years later would change that.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!
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 8 months ago by Jeff
Hail Columbia is an excellent movie. If you have good speakers it makes it even better.Published 11 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
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
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
I first saw this one on the big screen in Huntsville when I was attending Space Camp as a camper (maybe Edward was one of my camp instructors) and it left a pretty lasting... Read morePublished on December 20, 2006 by Jay M. Chladek