Cosmic Voyage (1996) Poster


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Superb, educational IMAX film on DVD.
TxMike15 January 2003
The IMAX "Cosmic Voyage" film was made as a public service with sponsorship by the Smithsonian Air and Space museum. On DVD, borrowed from my local public library, it plays at just over 30 minutes with Morgan Freeman supplying a pleasing narrative. As one would expect from an IMAX film, the image quality is superb and the Dolby 5.1 sound track is very well done. Simulated cosmic explosions shake your walls! That is, if you have a good powered subwoofer in your system.

The film takes a very useful approach to examining the size of the universe, from tiny sub-atomic particles to the vastness of the whole universe. (Fortunately, when God created the Universe he had dispatched a few angels with video cameras at different vantage points so we get to see actual footage from several billion years ago.) The film starts in Venice, where the discovery of the telescope originated, and uses a one-meter hoop as a reference point, then gradually goes larger by powers of 10, e.g. 10 meters, 100, 1000, etc until we can see the whole universe. Then it takes the opposite journey, going smaller by powers of 10 until be see inside sub-atomic particles.

The story is well-woven with beautiful effects created especially for this film. It is entertaining and educational at the same time. All of "oldsters" can enjoy it for the scientific history we are already familiar with, and all the "youngsters" can enjoy it for the educational supplement it provides. Overall a masterful film.

Any numerical "rating" of "Cosmic Voyage" is meaningless. If one is looking for a superb film about our universe and modern theories of its formation, this one is hard to beat. Kudos to IMAX and to the Air and Space Museum.
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Education plus visual effects
sazo-226 August 2007
This is one of the best IMAX films. It is truly a Cosmic Voyage, it gives an idea about the truth size of our macro and micro universe.

It manages to maintain the interest by avoiding any difficult data, the ones told are clear and suitable even for younger audience. And I believe it contains information even for the educated people.

It is needless to talk about the visuals. The IMAX films always had great footage and effects, this is true also for this one. But unlike to some IMAX films where only the visuals stand out, here the narration and contents are also very good. Morgan Freeman's calm narrative voice makes you to really wonder about the contents.
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This film never fails to capture my interest
grossma3 May 2002
While working at an IMAX theater I had to watch this film about three times a day. It never failed to capture my attention and interest. I love the way in which this film illustrates large concepts and explores many aspects of science. Although I've encountered many people who did not agree with the ideas it presents, I will never forget the impact it has had on my interest in science. Even while watching Cosmic Voyage three times a day, it continued to be entertaining and engaging. As far as I am concerned, this is an accomplishment.
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The Biggest Of The Big Meets The Smallest Of The Small
Dalbert Pringle7 November 2016
From an adult's viewpoint - I found this "arm-chair" cosmic voyage documentary (from 1996) to be only marginally educational when looking at it from a strictly scientific perspective.

I repeatedly found that a fair amount of the information being recited here by its bored-sounding narrator was, basically, just recycled data and second-hand knowledge which, of course, was made to appear significantly more interesting by an onslaught of dazzling CG imagery.

And, speaking bluntly about some of this science-documentary's computer graphics - I certainly wasn't all that impressed a lot of the time. I mean - If you ask me - There were certainly times when some of these glittering images actually looked downright hokey and, yes, almost laughable to this viewer.

Anyway - I'd say that the only thing that saved this IMAX "Cosmic Voyage" presentation from eventually deteriorating into a literal snore-fest was its short running-time of only 35 minutes.
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An awesome voyage
gizmomogwai17 July 2010
This IMAX documentary is sort of a brief introduction to the history of the universe, starting with the Big Bang and covering the rise of life on Earth. In addition, it shows us the extent of the universe as well as the microscopic world on Earth. It's an enormous scope, but this movie doesn't get overwhelmed by too much subject matter. It starts out by asking what is truly large and small, and a view of a human in a canyon is already an awe-inspiring image of how large the world is. This is nothing compared to the universe- it's astounding when the narrator, Morgan Freeman, tells us the lights we see aren't just stars but whole galaxies. It's incredible that we can see so far into space. The movie also briefly ponders whether there could be life on other planets. We see water in an alien world and a glimpse of life, which is intriguing.

Morgan Freeman is a suitable narrator with an authoritative voice. Cosmic Voyage also has great visuals that were probably more impressive on the IMAX screen (I only have the DVD). Nominated for an Oscar for best documentary short.
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Mind Expanding!!!
jimjoy2u16 February 2002
I rated this movie a 10! I watched it in the IMAX format at The Reuben H Fleet Space Museum in San Diego, CA. I saw it the first time and had to go back twice more to see it again that same evening! The special effects are awsome! Morgan Freeman's narration was right in tune with what was on the screen. I am so excited it will be available on DVD in early May 2002. This film rightly puts you in awe of God's Cosmic Creation -- the Microscopic AND the Macroscopic!!!
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A trip to the very large and very small
worleythom20 January 2014
Warning: Spoilers
Cosmic Voyage (IMAX), 1996.

The movie was inspired by Kees Boeke's lovely 1957 book, Cosmic View: The Universe in 40 Jumps. The book shows the scale of everything, from the large scale of the universe, down to atomic nuclei, in 40 pictures, each a factor of 10 scale difference from the last. The movie does the same thing, showing galaxies colliding. In 1996 it took unique supercomputing to render the computer graphic images and videos as they might actually look and happen. Of course, an IMAX movie loses a lot of its impact on a small screen. Definitely look at the book too, it's online.
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A shortish basic primer, but if you've dabbled with 'space' there'll be nothing new for you here.
Ian20 May 2018
An interesting and highly-visual edumentary, useful for introducing students to the scale of the universe and the Big Bang theory.

However, it is now over 20 years old. Having said that, it's so basic that it probably hasn't dated other than the omission of the Large Hadron Collider and perhaps alternatives to the Big Bang theory, and there's not much about quarks and really small stuff which is understandable.

If you don't grasp the principle of exponential expansion you may struggle with the scale but you will get the idea that it's Very BIG.

Nicely narrated by Morgan Freeman to a very Star Trekian score by the excellent David Michael Frank.

So, a shortish basic primer, but if you've dabbled with 'space' there'll be nothing new for you here.
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This cosmic documentary is a voyage, worth taking. It was astonishing!
ironhorse_iv20 July 2017
Warning: Spoilers
Made for the public with the help from Smithsonian Air and Space museum, this film takes viewers on a journey through the true size of our macro and micro universe with stunning photography from the various space telescopes, film footage, and special effects. Without spoiling the documentary directed by Bayley Silleck, too much, I have to say, the visuals are breath-taking. Some great examples are the overhead shots near Fisher Towers in Utah, and the ground-level site & sounds of Venice, Italy. In addition of that, I love how the film slowly zoom out into the edge of the observable universe, using CGI & descends back to earth, to view a raindrop on a leaf, at the subatomic particles level, using macrography. Every shot of footage is very clear and in high depth. It's pretty impressive, for a 1990s movie. It almost, looks like it was filmed, just yesterday with today's digital technology. No wonder, why this 36-minute film was nominated for an Academy Award in 1996. It really did capitalize on the large-format, wide-angle technology's technical aspect and usage by taking on a similar format as the National Film Board of Canada's 1970's 'Cosmic Zoom', and IBM's classic 1977's 'Powers of Ten' educational video; which all films were based on the book, 'Cosmic View' by author, Kees Boeke. Films like this, is the reason, why IMAX was created. It's beautiful to watch. Not only that, but the movie was very clear & informative, even if, most of the physical & formal science, including brief insight on the Big Bang theory, black holes, and the development of our Solar System is at the elementary grade level, layman's terms. In the end, if you're looking for a deeper exploration of the concept, including a discussion about multiverse, dark matter, concordance cosmology, dead zones & dark flow. You're just out of luck. Another problem with this film, is how some of the informative is also, now, a bit outdated. The idea that the universe came into being about 16-20 billion years, as a result of a single event that launched the universe into a continuous state of expansion, is laying thin; as more research has been done, on the subject. Most scientists now believe that the universe was created 13.8 billion years ago & some cosmogonist believe that the 'Big Bang' was more complex than it was once, though of. As many, see the biggest problem with the theory is that none of the equations that explain what happened in the singularity can take us all the way back to the moment, where the Big Bang actually happened. Instead, the laws of physics can only explain, that the universe is rapidly expanding. Because of this, some recent theories, believe that the universe has always been, moving around, like a ball in a cosmic pinball machine. Don't get me wrong, while still believe, that the 'Big Bang' theory, still holds weight, but it does ask, the question, why would the big bang explode!? Another thing, is how can time, be reconciled with general relativity!? Is it part of an infinitely recurring cyclic model!? Who knows!? All, I know is that, the Tevatron, the circular particle accelerator, they feature in, the film, is now inactive, since 2011, in favor of the Large Hadron Collider in Switzerland; the area, most famous for discovering the Higgs boson. Despite the dated information, I do have to say, I love the voice-over narrative from actor, Morgan Freeman. He has such a calm, yet serious tone with his voice. He's just that smooth & collected. I'll admit that I'd listen to a recitation of the dictionary if it were narrated by Morgan Freeman. He's really good. I also, like how this was one of the first scientific documentaries, he ever narrative. Before this, he only narrative, historical pieces & documentaries relating to Hollywood filmmaking. In short, it's films like this, that got him, ready for the biggest, & most famous documentary, voice-over ever in his career, with 2005's 'March of the Penguins'. Nevertheless, as much as I love Morgan Freeman's voice work, I do have to say, the music by composer, David Michael Frank that went, along with the film was equally as striking to the ears. It really gave the film, the epic scope of self-worth & discovery! Overall: Its films like this; that the scientific community has to thank, in making science, in particular astronomy, cosmology and theoretical science more accessible to the general public. Yes, the substance is a bit simple-minded, but this is one film, still worth exploring, regardless. Its visuals are beautiful & bright. It's worthy to join the constellations of great non-fictional short films about space. So check it out!
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Six (powers) of Ten
Warning: Spoilers
"Cosmic Voyage" is an American documentary film from 20 years ago that was written and directed by Bayley Silleck and also brought him his first and (so far) only Oscar nomination. It is basically about the perspective between Earth and space and all we have accomplished in terms of astronomy in the last centuries. Yes, even 20 years ago, actor Morgan Freeman was already telling space-related stuff to audiences all over the planet, who were listening closely. The strength if this short documentary here is probably that it is informative without ever becoming too specific or difficult. I enjoyed the watch, especially in the first half. All in all, I am okay with this one getting an Oscar nomination, even if I must say that it was not really good enough for the win and I cannot say it stands out truly compared to other documentaries about the subject. Then again, most of these that I have seen were made considerably later than 1996, so it's all good I guess. A pretty decent watch and I recommend it.
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