Saturday, May 28, 2011


Once Myopic, Now I See

The latest attraction at the Science Centre Omni Theatre, Hubble is presented sans the 3D version since the venue can only project 2D IMAX films. A friend who attended the special preview at Shaw Lido IMAX had mentioned that Hubble 3D was one of the trailers shown as an up and coming feature, but I remain a skeptic because I can't imagine a commercial cinema operator wanting to showcase a 40 minute documentary, when it probably can make a lot more showing the latest blockbusters in the format. I will be glad to stand corrected, but it remains to be seen.

The Hubble Space Telescope was launched into orbit some 21 years ago to much fanfare, and even more fuss made over it when it was discovered it had myopia (OK, in case you really think I meant that, it had faulty mirrors). So more space programmes were launched to have its telescopic sight fixed through the application of contact lens equivalents, and since then we've been treated to some of the most astounding pictures captured of our galaxy and beyond. This film chronicles the final servicing mission undertaken by the crew of Space Shuttle Atlantis in May 2009, and in fact is quite lightweight in treatment and narrative.

There isn't much of a background on what and how Hubble was designed and conceived - you're left to your own devices to get chummy with the telescope. The bulk of the documentary focuses on the crew of the Atlantis and their mission at hand, from ground training at NASA, to the blast off from the launchpad, with quick glimpses of their life aboard the shuttle, before a rather detailed look at their space walk and repair at hand, with the narration, by Leonardo DiCaprio, focused on the danger of having their suits ripped by sharp, pointy objects as part of their work.

The other focus of Hubble the film is on the images captured by it, which gives space and astronomy idiots like myself a quick and slight introduction to stars, systems, nebulas and the peek inside those astonishing vastness of space invisible to the naked eye. With infra-red lenses too we get to see past space clouds that mask hidden gems beneath, and truly that's something that made this documentary stand out a little.

Still, I would have preferred if it had a more holistic approach to Hubble, but for what it is, presented on an IMAX format, it's still quite something to behold. Recommended!

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