IMAX cameras capture the volunteer and professional side of the Haiti earthquake support operation in Rescue, a disaster unimaginable in scale before it happened, and the drama now preserved for future generations.

Rescue begins by building a small fleet of operations, from the Navy, to pilots, and then firemen as they perform their typical duties as servicemen. Training is undertaken to set a stage, and then a monumental 2010 earthquake ravages Haiti. Given a heavy pacing with limited runtime, the feature splits almost directly down the center between development and response.

Striking photography can (and will) be marred by needless visual effects, attempting to heighten the 3D effects Rescue was sold on. They’re almost inappropriate when flying over devastation, as if real fallen structures weren’t enough to convey the scale.

What’s missing here is execution, or rather any discussion as to how these jobs are performed. Ground units are shown sifting through rubble and doctors work to save lives, but any danger is removed as the crews make it look simple elsewhere. Air rescues simply drop to the ground, grab an injured hiker, and leave. It seems effortless even if the audience knows it’s not.

As a historical document, captured on staggering 70mm film, Rescue is quite important in terms of disaster cataloging. No cable news network could caapture footage this immense in terms of showing the collapse of a country in such definition. The scale is maintained and the visuals are gut wrenching. Even though rescue workers are crucial to the story, it’s a shame Rescue takes its time getting to Haiti. [xrr rating=4/5 label=Movie]

Marvelous. Breathtaking. Stunning. Heartbreaking. Rescue is an astonishingly textured presentation of limitless visual potential. This AVC encode capitalizes on every chance. If this Blu-ray takes a hit anywhere, it’s in the down conversion to 1080p from 70mm, aliasing and flicker persistent in their presence. That will mar an otherwise perfect visual showcase.

While it’s tough to call this demonstration material considering the subject matter, there’s little doubt any frame can offer jaw-dropping levels of sharpness. Minimal film grain will cast a light presence on some shots, while remaining invisible for the rest of the running time. Given the penchant for disc producers to use old masters or noise reduction on these releases, it’s fantastic to see others escape unscathed.

Contrast couldn’t be heavier, and some may find it overwhelming to an extreme in spots. Scattered concrete, dust, and debris can be blotched out by a scorching sun, but there’s no loss of brilliant primary color; it’s merely the environment casting a glow back at the camera.

Interiors of cabins or ships will offer the rare IMAX close-up, and the results from natural light are flawless. Uniform texture is stunning, facial detail is spot-on, and black levels – with one exception of deep crush – never lose their focus. This disc is a winner and deserves recognition as such.

And, to its further benefit, the 3D presentation is often a marvel. While fitted with the occasional bit of aggressive depth (a shot of a cockpit from a sunny exterior is gnarly on the eyes), this is a generally superior piece of 3D. Chalk it up to the already powerful imagery, feeding off the brilliant brightness and creating natural layers from that deep into the frame.

Shots of the disaster zones seem to stretch for miles, and what was not obviously framed for the format in 2D becomes spectacularly done with the glasses on. Images are already so perfectly natural, adding the addition of precision 3D only serves them further. Just wait until someone walks in front of the frame, guiding a propeller. Chances are your instincts will say to duck. [xrr rating=5/5 label=2D-Video] [xrr rating=5/5 label=3D-Video]

The first shot of Rescue has a helicopter swooping in from overhead, hitting the surrounds before taking over the stereos in a flawless front-to-back pan. Quality only increases from there. Engines have a resounding push into the LFE channel, powerful enough to convince someone a helicopter has actually flown over your home. Water coming over the bow of a boat rushes forward towards the listener while hitting the sub with plenty of force.

Positional cues are extensive, ranging from dialogue to equipment set up inside a medical bay. Nothing is left to sit in the center other than the narration. The score will rush around to the rears when it takes over, and broadcasts from all over the world hit every channel during a map presentation. Cannons fire from warships, rubble is tossed aside, and chatter will reign in from all angles. It’s a mix that’s is on par with the video for overall quality. [xrr rating=5/5 label=Audio]

While most IMAX discs have superb making-of material, Rescue offers text profiles and short interviews with the people featured in the video, plus a few trailers. [xrr rating=1/5 label=Extras]

Full disclosure: This Blu-ray was provided to us for review. This has not affected the editorial process. For more information on how we handle review material, please visit our about us page to learn more.

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