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As I've said countless times before, the Imax experience is something that can never be recreated at home, but this has never stopped me from collecting video versions of these wonderful films- first on Laserdisc, now on DVD. THE DREAM IS ALIVE ($20) is an older Imax film that was a part of my Laserdisc collection, and in its day, that disc was judged to be an excellent release. Newly transcribed to DVD, THE DREAM IS ALIVE remains an excellent release that belongs in the personal library of every Imax collector.

THE DREAM IS ALIVE is a superb film that showcases the American space program, but more specifically the space shuttle and its missions. Walter Cronkite narrates this thirty-six minute documentary and his unmistakable voice adds another layer of prestige to wonderful film about America's current achievements in space. Imax cameras beautifully visualize the wonder of THE DREAM IS ALIVE as its show, not only takeoffs and landings of the shuttle, but footage of the Earth and extra vehicular activities photographed by the astronauts during actual space missions. While I would love to hitch a ride on the space shuttle, I know that THE DREAM IS ALIVE is about as close as I'll ever get to living out this fantasy, and for that reason, this Imax movie has become one of my favorites.

Warner Home Video has done a truly fine job of transcribing THE DREAM IS ALIVE to DVD. Like every other Imax film that I've seen on video, THE DREAM IS ALIVE is offered in 4:3 full screen presentation. The transfer itself is quite beautiful, offering a richly detailed image that shows the benefits of large format photography. Additionally, the Imax photography creates a tremendous sense of depth in some sequences, which almost gives the image a 3D feel. Colors are bold and strongly rendered without a trace of noise or smearing. Blacks are perfectly inky, plus the contrast is excellent- just check out the shots of the Earth against the backdrop of outer space. Digital compression artifacts are well hidden throughout the film.

Not only is the picture a winner, the Dolby Digital 5.1 channel soundtrack also scores very high marks. The Imax multi-channel soundtrack has been well mixed into DVD's standard barer to create a highly active and enveloping sonic experience. While Walter Cronkite's narration is locked dead center, the voices of the astronauts and mission control technicians are localized in the rear channels, lending an otherworldly effect to the space missions. All voices are cleanly rendered with full intelligibility. Sound effects make effective use of the discrete nature of the format for precise placement in the sound field as well as believable panning between channels. The bass channel is nothing short of ground shaking, which makes the shuttle launches seem as if they are occurring inside your home theater. A French 5.1 channel soundtrack is also encoded onto the DVD, as are English, French, Spanish and Portuguese subtitles.

Sound underscores the basic interactive menus, which provide access to the set up features. An Imax/DVD trailer is the only extra offered on the DVD.

As I said above, THE DREAM IS ALIVE is a DVD that every Imax fan will want to own. Warner's super presentation of the film makes the acquisition of the DVD practically a no brainer.


The Dream Is Alive (IMAX)


DVD reviews are Copyright 2001 THE CINEMA LASER and may not be copied or reprinted without the written consent of the publisher.
THE CINEMA LASER is written, edited and published by Derek M. Germano.



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