To The Moon (Nova)
Sound: C+ Extras: D Main Program: B
Everyone in the DVD market has their own outer space
documentary on the market and since almost all the material is public domain,
so that is to be expected. You would
especially expect WGBH Boston Video to be part of that and they do not
disappoint with To The Moon (2000) from their Nova series. Though there have been longer, fancier
(i.e., 3-D) and memorably unique entries in what we can confidently consider a
documentary cycle, this is one of the most professional you will see.
It begins as the better ones do with the “space race”
between the U.S. and former U.S.S.R., when the Soviets launched the
basketball-sized satellite Sputnik successfully. One thing the program does not discuss, due in part to its focus
on the American program, is discuss the failures of the Soviet program and how
many died and took higher risks before they succeeded. The U.S. had its share of failures, sacrifices
(we still experience them as the dated Rockwell Space Shuttles keep aging) and
rough spots as it went on, but we know the ultimate success that was reached
would echo the U.S. outlasting the U.S.S.R. and beyond.
There is a nice helping of classic video and especially
film footage throughout, the narration is good and the new interviews are
exclusive and always interesting. The
1.33 X 1 image, however, is softer than expected. Color is consistent, especially in the film footage, but this
should be clearer for a recent production.
The Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo has no serious surrounds, which will
especially disappoint those who want to pump up their home theater systems for
a rocket launch. There are plenty of
DTS IMAX DVDs out there if you are interested in that. There are no extras either sadly, including
the usual DVD-ROM weblinks and other DVDs of interest.
- Nicholas Sheffo