Sunday, April 7, 2013

#965. Hubble (2010)

Directed By: Toni Myers

Starring: Leonardo DiCaprio, K. Megan McArthur, Scott D. Altman

Tag line: "Change Your View of the Universe"

Trivia: In Hungary, this film was released as Face to Face With the Universe

My initial reaction to Hubble, a 2010 motion picture designed to be shown on a huge IMAX screen, was about the same as the one I had to 1985’s Chronos: I kinda wished I’d caught the movie in its original large-screen format, but in the end, I was just happy to have seen it at all. Narrated by award-winning actor Leonardo DiCaprio and filled with one breathtaking image after another, Hubble takes us on a dazzling tour of our universe.

In May of 2009, seven astronauts were sent into space aboard the shuttle Atlantis to repair and enhance the Hubble Telescope, which, for 20 years, has been snapping some amazing pictures of the universe. Shot with an IMAX camera, Hubble follows the astronauts as they attempt to complete their mission, while at the same time exhibiting a series of incredible photographs taken by the telescope over the past couple decades.

Either of these two topics, working on the Hubble or presenting the pictures its captured, would have been enough to sustain an entire movie on its own. Yet Hubble squeezes both into the same film, exploring each one as completely as possible in less than an hour (it runs for 46 minutes)! The movie opens with the astronauts preparing for the launch, each providing insight into what was going through their mind at the time (by way of voice-over narration added after the fact). Next, Hubble gives us a brief history of the telescope itself, including footage of the 1990 mission to release it into space, before presenting us with some of the Hubble’s most stunning finds. Among the pictures we’re shown are images of the Helix Nebula, a dying star located in the constellation Aquarius, and the Eagle Nebula, nicknamed the “Pillars of Creation”, which, as DiCaprio points out, is “a birthplace for stars”. So detailed and complex are these snapshots that the filmmakers were able to use them to create their own style of “star travel”, bringing us “inside” the images to further explore their intricacies.

The universe is filled with marvels to stir the imagination, and Hubble takes the time to show us a handful of its most wondrous mysteries.

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