Journey to Space carries a catchy optimism about space exploration. Rushing through space exploration’s history and charging into the future, the IMAX feature glances the science involved with progress.
While box art coins Patrick Stewart as narrator, his lines are few. Spaces are filled by astronauts and researchers, lacking in marketable presence yet succeeding because of their knowledge base. When speaking over images of the ISS and in-mission shuttles, the pairing works.
In detailing the nature of NASA and international efforts, Journey to Space connects to the sacrifices which have been made for the need to explore. Mournful at times, Journey to Space still looks at progression after the Challenger incident with reverence and awe. Detailing momentum in ship and suit design, the science my be broad yet informative. Attention spans are not strained with minutiae.
Using the high-res source as best possible, incredible images taken from Hubble (and others) span the screen. Mars rover Curiosity produces astonishing sights too, setting up NASA’s planned mission to another planet. Journey to Space concludes by celebrating where humanity as a species is going. Eventually, this IMAX feature will be a grand time capsule when we finally arrive.
Digital and film merge to create Journey to Space, pulled from newer and older sources. Vintage cinematography – in this case, vintage refers to the final shuttle ride through Los Angeles in 2012 – are kept windowed. It’s a usual IMAX trick. Upscaling leaves shimmering and aliasing within those frames.
65mm and 4K digital (with stills sourced from 11K photos) form the rest. Some older cinematography taken during the final shuttle missions host a heavier grain structure. With this much space on the disc, compression is avoided. Journey to Space typically shows a limited grain, gorgeous when presented even at 1080p.
Slightly boosted yet tremendous color strikes immediately. Some pans over Earth’s waterfalls and coastlines boast stunning saturation. Contrast never loses punch and black levels make space appear flawless.
Note Shout Factory has chosen an odd release path. The 3D Journey to Space Blu-ray is only available as part of the 4K UHD release, but the 4K UHD release itself is not in 3D despite a $20 surcharge from the standard Blu. Shout, this makes no sense.
Aside from shuttle launches, Dolby Atmos may be overkill, and for purposes of this review, the same goes for TrueHD 7.1. While ignition creates an awe-inspiring punch in the low-end, surrounds only catch a smidgen of the activity. Attention goes to the score which wraps around cleanly into the rears. A later moment does stretch dialog into the back right, moving toward the front center.
Instances of ADR are noticeable, giving certain dialog an artificial quality. That’s typical of IMAX. Journey to Space is better than most though.
A five-minute making-of goes through the technical details, including cameras, resolution, and 3D conversions. Tech types will enjoy the chat. Afterward, there’s a photo gallery to pursue.
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Patric Stewart only narrates a small portion of Journey to Space, but the images and excitement of space exploration make up for it.
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Click on the images below for full resolution screen captures taken directly from the Blu-ray. Images have not been altered in any way during the process.