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Journey To Space (Blu-ray Review)

Journey-To-SpaceShout! Factory will Journey To Space for its first foray into a line of new, immersive, Giant Screen films in the visually stunning 4K Ultra HD™ format. The film will be released June 7, 2016, on Blu-ray, and in a 4K UHD + 3D Blu-ray + Blu-ray 2-disc combo.  This dazzling film illustrates just how exciting and ambitious NASA’s next era promises to be. In showcasing the goals NASA and the space industry are working towards, including space travel to Mars and capturing asteroids, the film puts an end to the perception that the space program died with the end of the Space Shuttle Program.  Journey To Space is co-produced by K2 Films, Inc. and Giant Screen Films. The film is written and directed by Mark Krenzien, produced by Don Kempf, Mark Kresser and Andy Wood, co-produced by Ed Capelle, executive produced by Bob Kresser and edited by Dale Beldin.

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Film 

Beautifully narrated by film and television legend Sir Patrick Stewart, and featuring extensive interviews with astronauts Chris Ferguson (Commander of the final shuttle mission) and Serena Aunon (a new astronaut chosen for future flights), Journey To Space also puts into historical context the magnificent contributions made by the Space Shuttle program and its daring space pioneers during their 135 missions.

Journey To Space offers spectacular space footage and gorgeous views of Earth as it shows operations in space, such as deploying and repairing the Hubble Space Telescope, and building the International Space Station (ISS). These incredibly important programs taught us how to live, build and conduct science in space. The ISS will continue to be in operation until 2024, and the film shows how it is building a foundation for the next giant leaps NASA will be taking, leaps that will forever change how we live and operate in space as a species. An impressive and realistic depiction of how astronauts plan to travel to Mars and back as part of a two-and-a-half-year mission concludes this sensational film.

Journey To Space is a decent little informative Journey about the NASA retirement of some space shuttles, the creation of a new one and the plans for the mission to land on Mars.  Its brought to life with real footage, CG footage, 3D footage and more.  I’m sure this was breathtaking on IMAX screens.  However, when it comes to home video, they needed to reedit it so that the archive footage was not still in a smaller window box to accommodate a 500 foot screen.  Now it is too tiny and not as much enjoyable.

We’re provided with a terrific narration from Jean-Luc Picard himself, Patrick Stewart.  He isn’t the only narrator though, and really is only it about 1/3 of the time.  The actually astronaut picked to study all this and maybe go to land Mars is one of them, the other is a retired astronaut.  Both are incredibly passionate and informative with their love becoming infectious while watching it.

Its weird, while not a long film, it still feels like it is over before the thing starts.  It moves fast, but ultimately you’ll want more because this ongoing science and discovery is still going on.  This is all still a lot of planning and ideas for what would be a massive human achievement.  This is a really good watch right now, but the whole thing is a bit dated and that’s okay, but for the future you’ll want a much more extended documentary.

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Video 

Encoding: MPEG-4 AVC

Resolution: 1080p

Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1

Clarity/Detail:  This will be debuting on 4K Ultra Blu-ray in addition to 3-D Blu-ray and Blu-ray.  This review is for the Blu-ray version of the film.  And it looks marvelous.  I’m sure the 4K looks terrific as well.  This is a crisp, clean, sharp image ripe with detail and providing great looking, rich CG effects.  This is one of the best images ever on display from Shout! Factory.

Depth:  This was a 3-D production and it shows it with its spacing, movements and fluidity in execution.

Black Levels:  Nice and deep, inky blacks here.  Space looks awesome.  Shadows and shading done very well too.

Color Reproduction:  Colors are rich and friendly.  The palette on display feels full and lifelike.

Flesh Tones:  Skin tones are natural and maintain that appearance throughout the duration of the film.  Facial details are top notch, showcasing wrinkles, freckles, dimples and the like at any given shot.

Noise/Artifacts: Clean

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Audio 

Audio Format(s): English Dolby Atmos, English 7.1 Dolby TrueHD, French 5.1 Dolby Digital, Spanish 5.1 Dolby Digital

Subtitles: English Closed Caption

Dynamics:  For this review, the 7.1 Dolby TrueHD track was used.  The narration sounds good and clean and there is a good balance between effects, vocals and music.  Its all loose and very uncompressed sounding.  Its a very involved sounding mix and its quite intense in places.  The launch sequences are massive highlight here as they invade your living room and lift right the heck off!

Low Frequency Extension:  Rockets blasting off and music cues get the use of your subwoofer.

Surround Sound Presentation:  This is a mainly front heavy experience, but there are some fun moments in the side and rear channels as well.  

Dialogue Reproduction:  Dialogue is clear and clean.  Every bit of mouth sound and diction is captured in this 7.1 mix.

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Extras 

Behind the Scenes (HD, 5:03) – A discussion on getting elite resolution for IMAX as well as shooting and converting for 3D.

Picture Gallery (HD, 1:30) 

Trailers – Last Reef, Wonders of the Arctic, Rocky Mountain Express, Journey to Space, Humpback Whales, Flight of the Butterflies

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Summary 

Journey To Space is a nice launch title for Shout! Factory’s 4K Ultra Blu-ray debut.  While I only reviewed the Blu-ray, I can imagine the 4K looks fantastic.  This is one of the best images the studio has ever put out as well as a terrific audio mix.  The documentary itself is some good, educational fun, but feels like just the first act of what will become a bigger piece of history in the next 2 decades.  I’d have to say this is a more of a rental, unless you’re a big time space collecting enthusiast.

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Writer/Reviewer, lifelong obsessive film nerd. As eager to educate in the world of film as I am to learn. An avid lover of horror, schlock and trash, Brandon hosts the Cult Cinema Cavalcade podcast on the Creative Zombie Studios Network (www.cultcinemacavalcade.com) You can also find more essays on his blog Naptown Nerd (naptownnerd.blogspot.com).

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