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Category:    Home > Reviews > Documentary > Science > Space > Mighty Saturns (Spacecraft set)

The Mighty Saturns: Saturns 1 & 1B†† (Spacecraft Films)


Picture: B-†††† Sound: B-†††† Extras: B†††† Main Programs: B



The Mighty Saturns is the beginning of a DVD-only series of boxed sets Fox is releasing with NASA and the seriesí producers that will go the farthest long-way yet in documenting the early glory days of the United states space program.It is the first of four 3-DVD sets to be initially offered, followed by three more 6-DVD sets, hopefully just for starters.Five of these boxes will cover the various Apollo programs, leaving this set and one on Gemini to launch the series.


There have been many great documentaries on the program like many an IMAX film done with NASA, as well as other gems like Al Reinartís For All Mankind (1989, on Criterion DVD).Like that DVD, this has sound remixed for multi-channel playback.Unlike that single DVD, all three in this set may be credited as 5.1, but are really Dolby Digital 3.1 sound!That is still not bad, especially for the age of the audio, when there is even audio available.An alternate Dolby 2.0 Stereo track is offered.You do get it in the main program, but you will find a surprising amount of footage in the extras and interactive sections, film and video, that is silent.


All that footage is full screen, either from 16mm NASA or videotaped NASA archival records, plus all the new interviews are taped in the same frame.We are generally used to the classic film footage of the space program, but there is much more videotaped clips of the time than expected.It is interesting to see the analog video sometimes not being able to hold its picture, but that is also usually in color, like the vast majority of what is here.Image quality is various, as is the case with most documentaries.


Disc One has a 49-minutes-long main program, along with very specifically-labeled camera angles of many a launch.There are also great behind-the-scenes clips of the actual building of what is still to date the most powerful series of rockets ever built.The final Saturn remains the king of all time, a feat that the now-defunct Soviet Union never caught up to.Disc Two is all clips, and Disc Three shows how Saturn rockets made the Apollo 7 launch possible.You also get camera angles form the rockets themselves here.


Now many might find this kind of set to abstract, but fans will LOVE IT and it is bound to inspire and educate the millions who will see these programs.It also acts as an archival record of very thorough proportion like hardly anything that has ever been issued on home video before, even as compared to the most deluxe feature film DVD releases.


Fortunately, Fox has thought ahead, putting each DVD in one of the ultra-slender cases they have used on their exceptional Family Guy packagings.This is the kind of interactive and referential programming DVDís technological capacities always promises, but rarely delivers.That makes The Mighty Saturns (and/or any other installment of this series) something everyone who owns a DVD player should look into.



- ††Nicholas Sheffo


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