Destiny in Space

Forget the expensive pyrotechnics of "True Lies" and the high-tech time-tripping of "Forrest Gump." The most amazing special effects in any contemporary pic are those in "Destiny in Space," a spectacular IMAX docu given a special presentation at the Toronto Film Festival. Pic should find large and appreciative audiences as it slowly rolls out to IMAX houses in urban markets.

With:
Narrator: Leonard Nimoy.

Forget the expensive pyrotechnics of “True Lies” and the high-tech time-tripping of “Forrest Gump.” The most amazing special effects in any contemporary pic are those in “Destiny in Space,” a spectacular IMAX docu given a special presentation at the Toronto Film Festival. Pic should find large and appreciative audiences as it slowly rolls out to IMAX houses in urban markets.

Rarely has the adjective “awesome” been more appropriate than it is for this literally larger-than-life docu, which showcases space footage collected by astronauts during nine shuttle missions over four years.

In any format, such sightswould be impressive. In IMAX — a format with frames 10 times the size of conventional 35mm — they are downright astonishing.

“Destiny” is both an exciting voyage to the far reaches of the known universe, and a provocative speculation on the mysteries that lie beyond our present knowledge.

The computer-generated visualizations of Venus, Mars and Jupiter — drawn from data gathered from space probes and inter-preted by NASA Jet Propulsion Lab scientists — are nothing short of eye-popping.

And the clips from Stanley Kubrick’s classic “2001: A Space Odyssey,” used to illustrate theories about long-term space flight, are cleverly selected.

But even these segments are upstaged by the IMAX footage shot during missions of the Atlantis, Discovery and Endeavor space shuttles.

Some of the IMAX-scale extraterrestrial imagery is so overwhelming, more than a few viewers will instinctively shut their eyes as a precaution against vertigo.

Indeed, it is frequently dizzying, and not a little scary, to gaze at the space shuttles, the floating astronauts and their deployed cargo — most notably, the Galileo probe and the Hubble Space Telescope — against the immense black nothingness of space.

Pic, produced by Graeme Ferguson, is the product of a public-private partnership involving the National Air and Space Mu-seum, Lockheed Corp., NASA and the IMAX Corp.

Leonard Nimoy (yes, Mr. Spock himself) delivers the narration by writer-editor Toni Meyers in an aptly grave, slightly sandpapered voice. Occasionally, the words have an unmistakable edge of advocacy, emphasizing the need for manned flights to Mars.

But even viewers who have serious reservations about financing big-ticket NASA programs will savor “Destiny in Space” as a real-life adventure that’s more amazing that anything Arnold Schwarzenegger has ever attempted.

Destiny in Space

U.S.-Canadian

Production: An IMAX Space Technology production. Produced by Graeme Ferguson. Co-director, astronaut training manager, James Neihouse. Screenplay, editor, Toni Meyers.

Crew: Camera (IMAX color), Neihouse, David Douglas, various astronauts; music, Maribeth Solomon, Micky Erbe; sound, Peter Thillaye; associate producer, Phyllis Ferguson. Reviewed July 25, 1994, at Space Center Houston. (In Toronto Film Festival). Running time: 40 min.

With: Narrator: Leonard Nimoy.

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