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Roving Mars (G)

Release Date: January 27th, 2006 (Loews 68th St. IMAX) by Walt Disney Pictures.
Directed by George Butler.

BASIC PREMISE: An IMAX documentary about Spirit and Opportunity, two rovers sent to Mars by NASA.

ENTERTAINMENT VALUE: The first twenty minutes include the basic assembly and tests run on Spirit and Opportunity to ensure a successful mission. Paul Newman briefly introduces the film. For the rest of the time, you watch how they launch into space and land on Mars thanks to realistic CGI effects. Both rovers have anthropomorphic characteristics such as two lenses (the eyes) and two horizontal and vertical extensions (arms and legs). Down in NASA headquarters, there’s a special division called Attitude Control, which controls the rovers’ “personality”. The launch itself is the most thrilling part because feel like you’re actually there in outer space with it. Seven months later, they finally land on Mars but the NASA team doesn’t immediately know if they survived the landing—one tiny mistake could ruin everything. The CGI scenes on Mars look breathtaking, but it would have been nice to watch more of them. With straight-forward narration, anyone, young or old, will be able to follow what’s going on. It’s also worth mentioning the lovely musical score by the ever-so-talented composer Philip Glass. Roving Mars looks beautiful on the giant IMAX screen. Had it been limited to a regular screen, it would have lost most of its amazing sights and sounds during its 40-minute running time.

SPIRITUAL VALUE: None is required or desired.

INSULT TO YOUR INTELLIGENCE: Not enough CGI scenes on Mars.


IN A NUTSHELL: An exciting ride full of breathtaking sights and sounds!

RECOMMENDED WAY TO WATCH: IMAX—don’t wait for video.

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