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Category:    Home > Reviews > Documentary > Space > Astronautics > Science > Roving Mars (IMAX/Blu-ray + DVD-Video)

Roving Mars (IMAX/Blu-ray + DVD-Video)


Picture: C+†††† Sound: B+/B-†††† Extras: C+†††† Film: B-



A constant favorite subject of documentaries and especially IMAX-produced ones is outer space and space travel.Like most productions in the IMAX format since its introduction in the mid-1970s, George Butlerís Roving Mars (2004) runs about 40 minutes and is a likable, worthy successor to the legacy of such productions.Just when you think one of these might be dumb or boring, each installment becomes like a progress report to see how NASA is succeeding, even with some setbacks.


However, this is a little choppier in its editing, overuse of video and the various aspect ratio framing within the frame can be off-putting, but the content overrides this for the most part and it succeeds despite not being the best of its kind.


The 1080p 1.78 X 1 digital High Definition image on the Blu-ray and anamorphically enhanced 1.78 X 1 image on the DVD-Video are almost the same as various formats are used and the 70mm IMAX footage is the only footage that looks better on Blu-ray if that.This just cheats and uses too much video instead of real film of any kind.We would have settled for 16mm.Video can look plugged up color wise and pasty detail wise.The DVD also has a 1.33 X 1 image that shows much of the video was 1.78 X 1 to begin with and all come from a digital internegative, which holds it back in 1080p.Both discs have decent Dolby Digital 5.1 sound, but the Blu-ray adds PCM 24/48 5.1 mix is superior in richness, better soundfield and fullness throughout.That makes the Blu-ray better, if by a margin narrower than one would like.


Two extras are included and they are featurettes, one of which (in Disney fashion) is a 1957 archival piece worth seeing called Mars & Beyond, running nearly an hour (for TV?) and may be dated, but holds up on some levels that make it both charming and reminds us of how the company was always trying to make the sciences exciting.Mars: Past, Present & Future is about the people who made the Mars Rover and is shot in HD.It is shown that was on the Blu-ray only.Though not a great or perfect space documentary disc (like the Blu-ray of Shuttle Discoveryís Historic Mission from HDNet, reviewed elsewhere on this site), it is fun and worth a look.



-†† Nicholas Sheffo


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