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IMAX - Destiny in Space

Warner Bros./Warner Home Video . R4 . COLOR . 39 mins . G . PAL


DVD seems to have an affinity with space. Space as in ‘deep space’ – is it a fascinating subject in itself or does the ‘propeller head’ mystique of ‘DVD’ tend to bring out the ‘Sam Neills’ to narrate such involving documentaries? Leonard Nimoy narrates this one.

This is a 1994 IMAX feature that tries to cast a wide net in its limited run time. It explores space as an expansion from the limited confines of our immediate satellites. It starts with the Shuttle and its use as a launch vehicle for satellites and the trials of the technical staff.

It then moves out to explore the problems of space travel which range from weightlessness to the basics like food, air and water. The local neighbours like Mars and Venus are examined, with the use of CGI and a lot of technical expertise from the company behind the space program (and this disc); Lockheed Martin Marietta.

We return back to the near Earth orbit for our final chapter, which is the detail of the Hubble telescope to peer at the reaches of the known universe. This is to have a look at stars being formed and to speculate how we might reach them.

There is a lot of information here, even though some sections are perhaps a bit ‘pop-sci’. Nimoy is narrating pretty much non-stop throughout, which gives you an idea of how much information is passed across.


Well there’s no getting away from it; we expect a certain level of excellence from IMAX based films and we are used to getting it. This disc is no exception – I have yet to see a full frame feature that can match this.

The picture quality is simply, extraordinary, crystalline and every other superlative. You can see every star in the pitch black vacuum of space. Colours are extremely saturated, but also balanced and natural. The CGI and Hubble imagery is breathtakingly beautiful.

The spaceship and machinery shots show exquisite detail. Even the archival footage of the Apollo missions are of a level that I’ve not seen before. Like Apollo, the astronauts control the camera for the space shots so it tends to mirror NASA footage albeit at a quality level unseen in the past.

That is it. There is some extremely slight edge enhancement but this is so minor you can get rid of it by adjusting contrast.


There is a single 384k/s Dolby Digital 5.1 track (as well as alternate language tracks). This is an exceptional track with no faults. Leonard Nimoy is dispassionate, but exhibits clear diction.

Surrounds are limited to explosive effects like the shuttle lift-offs and to various radio communiques with mission control at Houston.

The subwoofer gets a workout, however it is limited to rocket effects on take-off and in manoeuvring. It is subterranean in levels, but it does not reach the extreme levels exhibited in the best DTS tracks.


The main extra is a ‘making of’ documentary that runs for roughly nine and a half minutes and it is one of the best looking extras I’ve seen, with a look that almost matches the main feature. It has interviews and some camera setups. It’s a very decent feature that could perhaps be longer.

There’s a minute and bit trailer for this feature and a minute long trailer for IMAX in general. Both are unmistakably IMAX in quality.


This is the rub. The feature runs about 39 minutes (it’s more like 36 minutes minus intro and credits). The disc is 2.5Gb in size. As good as the feature is, I doubt this disc will be more than a demo disc just for the incredible picture and sound. I know this is a general feature of IMAX films, but it is your money and you buy discs for some replay ability I would imagine. The extras are also very limited and it is also not chaptered, which is a bit ‘David Lynch-ian’.

I would compare this with another IMAX feature, indeed one of the first and the best and that’s IMAX Super Speedway. That runs a bit longer than Destiny but that also has one of the most novel and complete documentaries to go along with it. I think the people at IMAX must realise their features although short and high quality, need to have added extras to make the purchase price worthwhile. This disc has nothing to ‘pad’ it out. And that makes the value a bit less than it could be.

  • LINK: http://www.dvd.net.au/review.cgi?review_id=1597
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      And I quote...
    "A completely beautiful IMAX DVD that is hampered by the run time and lack of extras..."
    - Tony Lai
      Review Equipment
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    • Audio Cables:
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