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Hail Columbia (IMAX)

4.2 out of 5 stars 17 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Hail Columbia! (DVD)

Journey behind the scenes for the thrilling maiden voyage of the world's first space shuttle.

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From the Back Cover

Board the mighty shuttle Columbia for its maiden voyage. Experience one of humankind's crowning achievements: the inaugural voyage of the world's first space shuttle. Hail Columbia! goes behind the scenes with astronauts John Young and Robert Crippen as they prepare for their historic launch. Feel the thunderous liftoff and our heroes' awe as Columbia achieves orbit for the first time. Join the celebration as the shuttle triumphantly touches down, mission accomplished.

Special Features

None.

Product Details

  • Directors: Graeme Ferguson
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Closed-captioned, Color, Dolby, NTSC
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 5.1)
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish, German, French, Turkish, Greek
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
    NR
    Not Rated
  • Studio: Imax
  • DVD Release Date: October 2, 2001
  • Run Time: 36 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00005MEPE
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #67,335 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Hail Columbia (IMAX)" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Edward Sunder on January 6, 2003
Format: DVD
I watched this movie about 50 times when I was a counselor at Space Camp years ago and it was always my favorite of the IMAX films. While The Dream Is Alive, Blue Planet, etc. have much more IMAX footage, none of them compare with the adrenaline rush of Hail Columbia. The other space-oriented IMAX films that I have seen are much more documentary, while Hail Columbia is telling the exciting story of the first Space Shuttle launch. That storytelling aspect alone makes the difference for me and keeps me on the edge of my seat each time I watch it.
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This DVD won't make you stare in wonder at beautiful IMAX space vista's, as the later IMAX/space shuttle films do. Only a minority of the film is in actual IMAX 70 mm. That aside, the later offerings don't get my goosebumps going quite like this DVD! Don't buy this DVD for the IMAX "wow" factor, but instead buy it for the incredible story of America's first shuttle launch and landing. The ending has some very interesting film of the shuttle being transported on the back of a modified 747 as they take off from the runway. Also at the end is a very inspiring segment of shuttle lift-off's. The screen is divided into three vertical slices, while footage of different launches cycle simultaneously. Quite moving. Audio quality of the main launch are not quite up to the standards set by the later IMAX/shuttle offerings, with noticeable distortion in the recording.
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"Hail Columbia!" is a 36-minute IMAX documentary program, narrated by actor James Whitmore, which chronicles the maiden launch (and landing) of America's reusable "Space Transportation System" (aka: the Space Shuttle).

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.
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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 flights. Everything had to work right the first time or it could mean the loss of the vehicle and crew.

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.
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Format: DVD
Although "Hail Columbia" is a fine movie, it does suffer in comparison to later IMAX productions in that it has a lot less actual IMAX footage than following films, like "The Dream Is Alive".
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!
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