As part of the Warner Bros. Blu-ray Elite program, Fat Guy Kevin Carr was sent a batch of free IMAX Blu-rays to enjoy. Thanks to Warner Home Video for giving him a chance to watch and review IMAX Born to Be Wild and IMAX Hubble again.
IMAX Born to Be Wild
What it’s about: This shot-for-IMAX movie examines two wildlife rescue efforts. Dr. Birute Mary Galdikas runs a sanctuary for orphaned orangutans in Borneo. Dr. Dame Daphne M. Sheldrick runs a similar relief effort for orphaned elephants in Africa. Morgan Freeman narrates their stories that show how humans are working to help these wild animals find a way back into their natural habitat.
The movie: kinda rocks! – The story of these conservation efforts are quite sanitized for this G-rated family film, but that is totally fine in its framework. The movie goes into cute overload with the baby orangutans, but it also sheds plenty of light on the troubles they face in the wild and how things change when they get older. Even more fascinating than the stories of the orangutans are the stories of the elephants, who appear to bond stronger with their human helpers. Beautifully shot and presented in high definition, this film is a brisk 41-minute educational film that can be enjoyed by even the youngest in your home.
The bonus material: Kinda rocks! – Even though these bonus features are rather slim for a regular film, they seem appropriate for the short-form IMAX documentary. The only features included are six webisodes that chronicle the behind-the-scenes of the film.
Notes on the Blu-ray experience: Shot-for-IMAX specialty documentaries are a dying breed, considering most screens are being reserved for major feature film releases now. It’s nice to see these quality nature films in the highest definition possible, presented on the Blu-ray format. Even though it loses a bit from its original large-format presentation, it would lose a lot more were it dropped down to DVD.
What it’s about: The Hubble Space Telescope has been plagued with problems since it was launched in the early 90s. As breathtaking as its images are, there have been quite a few trips to fix it. With NASA’s Space Shuttle program ending, this film chronicles the final chance to make repairs to keep it going for several more years. Leonardo DiCaprio narrates this profile on NASA, it’s astronauts, the Hubble telescope and their final mission into space for repairs.
The movie: Kinda rocks! – Having been fascinated by the space program since I was young, it was awesome to see a movie championing NASA’s efforts again. The film gives a nice look at the problems that Hubble has faced over the years as well as how NASA has worked to keep things on track. Offering brilliant animated sequences of the images Hubble returns as well as some nice history of the space station and NASA’s attempts to save it, this film is a nice slice of education for the family to enjoy. There’s a lot to be said throughout the 44-minute film, and it paces itself nicely, inspiring some interest for my kids in space.
The bonus material: Kinda rocks! – Like IMAX Born to Be Wild, IMAX Hubble has limited special features, but that’s expected for a short-form documentary like this. It has similar webisodes that go behind the scenes of the film. Plus, there’s a brief “Inside IMAX’s Hubble 3D” making-of featurette.
Notes on the Blu-ray experience: Like the IMAX Born to Be Wild documentary, this film should be seen in as pristine a condition as possible. The large-format hi-def shooting translates brilliantly to Blu-ray. Not only do the more mundane astronaut interviews look great, but the images of space are quite amazing in a hi-def presentation.