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Category:    Home > Reviews > Documentary > Science > Space > Rockets > Shuttle Discovery’s Historic Mission (Blu-ray/HDNet World Report)

Shuttle Discovery’s Historic Mission (Blu-ray/HDNet World Report)


Picture: B     Sound: B-     Extras: D     Main Program: B-



Strange as this is, but for all the news and documentary DVDs we have covered to date, none have involved the U.S. Space Shuttle.  Why, we just finally reviewed the James Bond film Moonraker!  Well, to finally correct that injustice, we get to look at a fun new Blu-ray from Magnolia Pictures from their sister company HDNet that features a recent launch of the Discovery.


Early on in home video, there were special interest and gimmick releases, which could be fun.  When the 12” LaserDisc format first surfaced and had a slow start, some very interesting titles were issued (3-D for instance) that were also special interest and showed off the then-superior picture and sound that cable, satellite and tape could not match.  Though it has been over half a year since the first HD disc hit the market, it is only now that this practically time-honored tradition is back and The Shuttle Discovery’s Historic Mission is such a fun disc.


Showing off HD and HDNet in particular, Mark Cuban made this into an event as he was determined that this be captured in HD to show yet another way of looking at the spacecraft in action.  What makes this historic is that this was the first time since the second horrible explosion (this time from foam insulation troubles) that the Shuttle would return to action.  Launching July 26, 2006, this was going to be very important indeed and things fortunately worked out.


In HD, especially at this time when most people still do not have HDTVs and with HD materials playing, even after all the analog NTSC and film footage of the various shuttles in action, HD gives the experience a fresh new perspective and that makes it a fun Blu-ray to get.  No, there is nothing extraordinary outside of the shoot that separates this from other programs on the subject, but it is nicely done and the only thing holding it back is its 50 minutes length.


The 1080i 1.78 X 1 digital High Definition image has its moments, shot entirely in HD, but still has limits in detail here and there.  Video Black is not bad, but has some minor issues like nothing I have seen in either format.  Because this program is not sharing room with too much other content, it has the freedom to look better than most programs in either HD format to date.  The sound is here in Dolby Digital 2.0 and DTS mixes, with the DTS better if limited versus the kind of multi-channel sound you get from the better such feature film productions.  There are no major extras despite the room, but if you like technology and space-related items, The Shuttle Discovery’s Historic Mission is a nice change of pace early on in HD and one HD fans will also want to catch.



-   Nicholas Sheffo


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