New on DVD: IMAX Hubble (2010)

The only thing missing from IMAX’s “Hubble” documentary? If they had gotten someone from “Star Trek” to narrate it. Can you imagine? “Space, the final frontier, seen through the eyes of Hubble.” Etc. Nothing against babyface grown up Leonardo DiCaprio, of course, who does a serviceable enough job at the gig, but it would have been cool for all the space geeks out there if we had a “Star Trek” alum doing the work instead. Anyways, “IMAX: Hubble” docks on DVD, On Demand and for Download March 29, 2011. You can grab a copy on Blu-ray and 3D Blu-ray only from Best Buy for a limited time.

In May 2009, the crew of the Space Shuttle Atlantis launched a mission to make vital repairs and upgrades to the Hubble Space Telescope, the world’s first space-based optical telescope. An IMAX camera captured stunning footage of the five intricate spacewalks required, as well as close-up images of the effort to grasp the orbiting telescope with the shuttle’s mechanical arm at 17,000 MPH — and an unexpected problem that could sabotage the entire mission. Hubble combines this breathtaking material with images taken during the 20 years it has been our window into space. Through advanced computer visualization, Hubble’s detailed data becomes a series of scientifically realistic flights that unfold on screen like a guided tour of the universe, through time and space.

Movie Review:

I can imagine an alien race with interstellar travel flying by and seeing this giant telescope just floating in space and thinking, “WTF?” (Yes, I think of these things late at night. That’s just how I roll.) That big ol floating metal thing would be the Hubble Space Telescope, Earth’s window into the vast canvas that is the ever-expanding, always-fascinating universe. Or to you more religious types out there, your peephole into God’s backyard. Or possibly attic.

“Hubble” documents the efforts of the 2009 Atlantis team to make repairs to the Hubble, essentially the last mission of its kind now that America no longer seems to be in the “space business”. All’s well, until a problem occurs, giving the documentary its drama.

Mind you, not that it needed drama. This is a movie unlike any movie you’ve seen, and fans of space, or just the very romantic notion of exploration, will be in Heaven. It’s been 20 years since the Hubble was originally launched, and in those times it’s captured some remarkable images from the vast universe around us. You needn’t be a space geek to appreciate everything the Hubble has done, but it sure helps. Try looking at Earth from space and not feel your jaw dropping to the floor.

“Hubble” is less a history of the Hubble as it is an homage to everything the telescope has given the world. Not an easy feat in 44 minutes. The mission’s spacewalks to repair and replace various lens on the device provide plenty of human drama for those who needs that. In space no one can hear you scream, but you can steel feel the power tools at work. Novices to space jargon will undoubtedly be scratching their heads at a lot of the technobabble, but the documentary does a very good job of not overwhelming you with them.

The DVD is remarkable, but I have to believe it doesn’t even come close to matching the movie when shown in its native IMAX widescreen. And like I said, I would have love to see this thing in Blu-ray, probably the second best thing to seeing it on IMAX.

Buy “IMAX: Hubble” on DVD March 29, 2011.