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SPACE STATION ($20) is one of the most entertaining and (if youíll forgive me) down to Earth documentaries in the entire IMAX library.  Enthusiastically narrated by Tom Cruise, SPACE STATION looks optimistically the construction and manning of the International Space Station prior to the shuttle Columbia disaster, which has since delayed the American space program and the ISS. 

The large format IMAX cameras are again put to good use in filming images of the Earth from space, as well as the exteriors of the space station, and underwater training simulations of the EVAs that are required for the International Space Stationís construction and maintenance.  Other highlights of the film include rocket launches and the always-impressive sight of a NASA Shuttle launch.  Of course, SPACE STATION is also one of the IMAX films produced in 3D, so the film is ripe with moments that thrust objects at the camera, something that isnít particularly impressive on a 2D DVD.

Warner Home Video has made SPACE STATION available on DVD in a transfer that frames the film in the full screen aspect ratio.  The image on the DVD always appears quite crisp and beautifully defined.  Colors appear vibrant and always completely stable.  Blacks are velvety, whites are clean and the picture boasts excellent contrast and shadow detail.  Digital compression artifacts are always nicely concealed. 

The Dolby Digital 5.1 channel soundtrack is impressive, especially during rocket and shuttle launches.  Fidelity is terrific and the musical component has a warm sense of presence.  The bass channel is deep and powerful and threatens to launch oneís subwoofer into orbit.  Dialogue is cleanly rendered and easy to understand. A French 5.1 channel track is also encoded onto the DVD, as are English, French and Spanish subtitles.

Music underscores the basic interactive menus, which allow one access to the standard set up features, as well as a few nice extra features.  SPACE STATION features a running audio commentary with Director Toni Meyers and astronaut Marsha Ivins, plus the twenty two minute Adventures In Space, a featurette that gives one a look behind the scenes at filmmaking and life on board the ISS.  A still gallery, plus an audiovisual tour close out the supplemental features.

Warnerís presentation of SPACE STATION on DVD is fairly impressive, leaving one with little to complain about.  If you collect IMAX movies on DVD or are just happen to love documentaries about outer space then, SPACE STATION will make another worth addition to your personal library.



Space Station (IMAX)



DVD reviews are Copyright © 2005 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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