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I went to see DESOLATION this afternoon with the hope of it delivering
on the hype: namely, a virtual walk on the moon.
Well...it does deliver that...but in frustrating snippets.
After all, with only 40 min of film time (for $10.50), I was really hoping for an immersion experience, start to finish. Instead...the actual scenes devoted to 3-D moonscape are rarely longer than 10 seconds each, interspersed with 10 MINUTES of inane filler material...like cute school kids trying to remember the names of the Apollo astronauts. Sheesh...very much 'spell breaking'.
So...you do come away with a few shots to remember. But a virtual 'experience' of being on the surface of the moon?? Not really. More like an MTV experience of being on the moon, for the attention span challenged.
This movie is a pretty decent IMAX flick. Tom Hanks makes for a great
narrator. The content was very interesting and often quite funny. The
music is on-par with major Hollywood films (although it got a little
sappy at the end, but that's IMAX for you). It did a good job of
discussing all the Apollo missions, and not just 11.
I only found out afterwards how many famous voices were involved. I recognized Morgan Freeman, but that was it. This is a Good Thing. The film did not let the "talent" get in the way of the story. In other words, the star of the show was the history and information, and not the voice work.
This movie did NOT need to be in 3D. More than half of it was archive footage, which obviously was not shot with a 3D camera. Often the footage was shrunk down to appear 3D against a generic background. The recreated lunar landing was the only part that took real advantage of the 3D cameras, but it was in no way necessary to be shot in 3D.
That being said, it was a pleasant way to spend an hour. Make sure to sit in a red seat if you see it in the Lockheed-Martin theatre at the Air and Space Museum for optimum 3D viewing.
Today I took my 3rd graders on a field trip to see this film. We were
mesmerized! I know that the kids were mostly blown away by the great 3D
effects, but that's OK. Hopefully they absorbed a little bit of the
science that was discussed.
It is fantastic. People of all ages will enjoy it. I highly recommend it if you can find this film in your area.
Two things I liked: the way To Hanks included the "first quotes" of other moon walkers (since the only one we ever hear about is Neil Armstrong's.) I also liked the scenario of what "could have happened" if there was a glitch with the moon rover during the moon landings.
See it--you'll love it.
I saw this movie at our local IMAX theater at the Pink Palace Museum, Memphis, which has a screen that is about 30 feet high. The scenes of the Moon were so detailed that it was a sensory overload for me. So, I had to restrict my vision (and attention) to just a small section of the screen to avoid dizziness and vertigo. It must take a strong constitution to be an astronaut, due to an inevitable sensory overload. I get dizzy just climbing up a ladder. I know I would get a severe case of vertigo if I actually witnessed the Earth rising above the wasteland of the Moon. But, this film is excellent for young adventurers, who aspire to travel to the Moon. I am sure that vacations to the Moon will be as numerous in coming centuries as cruises to the Caribbean are today. The numerous scientific skills associated with space travel are endlessly fascinating to developing young minds. Tom Hanks, however, does a good job of warning us of the dangers of space flight and the heroism of American astronauts, who, quite literally, gave their lives to the pursuit of the dangerous vocation of space travel and exploration.
Outstanding! What a great tribute to the Apollo space program. A great use of 3D technology. I loved all of the star voices sitting in for the Apollo astronuats. I recognized some of them, not all of them. This movie - only about 45 minutes long - shows us past footage and new footage of what it was like to fly an Apollo mission to the moon. Including hypothetical worst case scenarios and what moon travel might be like in the future. For those who remember the Apollo missions, this will be a great reminder and tribute to those days of the late 60's & 70's. And for those who have no frame of reference, what a great way to learn about what it was like. The 3D effects are outstanding, not gimmicky. Please go see this movie and take your kids. I remember very little of the Apollo missions when they occurred, but this movie actually had me choked up at the end. I only wish it was longer...
If you saw the superb 2007 documentary, "In the Shadow of the Moon", I
am not certain what the point would be in viewing this forty-minute
2005 IMAX film - at least if you are old enough to remember the
television coverage of the Apollo missions. The former film includes
spectacular archival footage of those missions and insightful on-camera
interviews with ten of the surviving astronauts. This one is aimed more
directly as a motivational film for a youthful audience as it seeks to
reignite the pioneering spirit that sparked the first space flights.
NASA aficionado Tom Hanks wrote and produced (along with director Mark
Cowen) this enthralling if somewhat cursory look at what it took to get
to the moon and what it will take to continue the legacy. The film not
only recreates some of the actual Apollo lunar missions but also posits
what could have happened had disaster struck. The result adds a
suspenseful element obviously designed to engage younger viewers.
Hanks applies his storytelling skills to full dramatic effect during these fictitious interludes. They are intertwined with a whirlwind of facts presented in a breezy manner, an especially effective tactic in chronicling mankind's fascination with the moon since this film is meant to inspire as well as to educate. To reinforce the approach, there is a series of quick interviews with youngsters that bookend the featurette showing how the space race has completely preceded them and how it could be resuscitated for the next generation of lunar exploration which targets us back on the moon by 2016. A number of famous actors provide the voices of the astronauts - Matt Damon, Morgan Freeman, Paul Newman - but few are recognizable. The 3-D visual effects are lost on the 2007 DVD, though I think not as much as the elongated dimensions provided by an IMAX theater. Even more than the technical elements, what really brings the film together is Hanks' obvious enthusiasm for the subject. The DVD includes additional video footage and photographs from the Apollo 11 mission plus a trivia game.
Magnificent Desolation plays mostly as a promotional piece for young,
would-be astronauts. The impetus for the production, it seems, was the
thought that interest in the Moon, and space exploration in general,
has been waning. The film is about one-third education, one-third
inspiration and one-third mystifying 3-D visual effects.
At 40 minutes, it's a short number -- which suits school children well. Now that my attention span has grown with age, however, I wished it had been longer and the recreated 3-D scenes had been more embellished -- maybe an adult version fraught with fictional peril. I became greedy for more time in the 3rd dimension.
The three-dimensional visuals are stunning like none that I have ever seen. The 3-D glasses are still somewhat clownish in appearance, but are an advancement compared to the cheap-paper disposals I am accustomed to, as they don't distort your view with hues of blue and red.
I predict that there will be renewed interest in viewing films in 3-D, and Robert Zemeckis and Co. are wise to re-release the Polar Express in 3-D IMAX format this December.
Although for the adult, the educational aspect may be a little rudimentary or underwhelming, Magnificent Desolation is inspiring, and I'm always willing to pay a few bucks for some inspiration; to be reminded of how incredibly amazing our achievements have been over the past 100 years, and how amazingly able we humans are at realizing dreams that still seem so impossible, so mystifying -- whether viewed through 3-D glasses or just contemplated on a clear night while looking up at the night's sky.
To be the first man to ever set foot on the Moon is an ineffably fantastic feet; to think that you were the first person to set foot on something that every living inhabitant of this earth has looked upon since the inception of this planet. It's amazing -- one of the most extraordinary experiences one can have -- talk about "out of this world!" I didn't fully appreciate the awesomeness of this accomplishment until I was forced to think about it this past weekend while watching this film. So, I think the Magnificent Desolation is effective at getting audiences to think a little more about how amazing the original Apollo missions were.
In closing, even though my matured tastes left me wanting more, in the end I think it best that Magnificent Desolation is what it is: a simple, short film that captivates the eyes, minds and, hopefully, hearts of young and old alike, inspiring us all to continue reaching and dreaming of things that appear beyond reach of human capacity, for Magnificent Desolation reminds us that how things appear is just that, illusionary appearance. In this world, during our lifetime, anything is possible.
This movie is shockingly short. Granted I did not check the run time
before purchasing a ticket, but I expected the movie to be longer.
Also, despite excellent effects, amazing pictures (especially when viewed in a IMAX 3D), and excellent narration; the movie did not contain much information. The movie gives more of the feelings behind a journey to the moon, pointing out how something might have gone wrong, that it's a long journey, the people to take the journey were heroes, etc... No actual useful information. This disappointed me as I was expecting something educational.
One thing I the movie did provide was less popular comments from less known astronauts from the other Apollo missions.
Other than the short length and the lack of educational comment, it was enjoyable to watch. The visual effects are surprising and realistic (at times, because of the 3d effects you feel the sudden urge to dodge something or get out of the way of something coming at you)
Wow doesn't begin to do justice to the experience of this movie. Thank
you Tom Hanks for your passion and for helping us to understand what it
was like to be there through this film, and through the mini-series
From the Earth to the Moon.
Today I saw Magnificent Desolation at my local IMAX and I highly recommend it to anyone who was a child of the space race or an adult during that time. I found the make-up of the crowd really interesting; a lot of guys in their 40's like me who probably built all the spacecraft models as kids, taking their own children to the movie to show them what going to the moon was all about.
For me, it was like a religious experience. At the beginning there is a shot they created of Buzz Aldrin climbing down the ladder of the lunar module to take his first steps, and the viewer's perspective is of standing about 100 feet away on the surface, watching. It was so realistic I felt I had been transported back in time and was watching the history making event as it actually happened. For a few moments I was overwhelmed at the sudden realization of what Armstrong and Aldrin had experienced, and literally had tears in my eyes while watching the scene.
The 3D effects on the IMAX screen are so good that you find you often need to refocus your eyes to look at different things in the scene. It's a bit disconcerting at first, compared to a normal movie, but after a few minutes you adjust and enjoy the experience.
Shots of the inside of the Apollo 15 lunar module as it was descending to the plain at Hadley were very cool, and looking out the window was almost like being there. It was very realistic. On the lunar surface they did a fantastic job of integrating the high quality still photos taken by the astronauts to create a lunar landscape that was so real looking you would swear you could reach out and pick up a rock to take home.
The movie is relatively short (less than 50 mins.) so the documentary content is brief and concise, focusing on the concept/vision of going to the moon rather than a lot of details about how it was done (for that type of story, see the twelve episodes of From the Earth to the Moon). The documentary sections were interspersed with the re-creation of scenes showing what it was really like to land and work there. I left the theater with a true sense of understanding and awe of what it must have been like to have journeyed to the moon.
Two thumbs up
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
"Magnificent Desolation: Walking on the Moon 3D" is a 40-minute
documentary short film from 10 years ago. As the title states, it takes
a closer look at the exploration of space in the last decades and
especially on the moon landings. I myself am not the biggest fan of the
concept of reaching new heights record all the time and that is
probably why I was not too amazed watching this one. Also, it got a bit
too patriotic occasionally, even if Juri Gagarin is mentioned in the
closing credits as well. And the way, people who are critical about the
actual moon landings are talked about is a bit embarrassing and lacks
This film actually has quite a few people in here that also worked on the suer-successful "Apollo 13" 10 years earlier, such as Emmy winner Christopher G. Cowen or Tom Hanks, who narrates this one. However, Hanks is not the only big name here: Bryan Cranston, Matt Damon, Morgan Freeman, Matthew McConaughey and John Travolta is a collection of big names that you won't find in most Hollywood blockbuster movies. Anyway, this one is only worth a watch for those with a great interest in space aviation. The visual side is pretty good, but in terms of the contents I cannot say I was thrilled watching this. Not recommended.
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