Roving Mars [Blu-ray] (Bilingual)
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Action. Drama. Anticipation. Exultation. Experience it all as you join the Mars rovers Spirit and Opportunity for an awe-inspiring journey to the surface of the mysterious red planet. Through the eyes of these two intrepid, state-of-the-art rovers, and with NASA scientists and engineers at your side, you'll see Mars in a way no one ever has before. You'll feel what it's like to stand on the startling surface of the planet that's intrigued mankind for eons. ROVING MARS -- It's the ride of a lifetime.
Backstage -- MARS AND BEYOND Bonus Featurette -- Walt Disney's 1957 Investigation Into The Mysteries Of The Universe And Space Travel (Approx. 50 Minutes); "Mars: Past, Present & Future" Featurette -- Personal Reflections On Mars From The Filmmakers, JPL Rover Team Members And Students From The "Imagine Mars" Program
Top Customer Reviews
The pace of the movie is very low but there is so much displayed information that it's quite appropriate.
Unlike movies that should concentrate on the story line with visuals coming in as a secondary attribute this documentary benefits form the Blu-ray treatment. One plus is the narration by Paul Newman.
Do not forget to look at the extras on the DVD.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
I had read a review on Netflix where the wannabe critique stated that they didn't like all the CGI; they probably didn't know that some of the extraordinary footage of the mars terrain was actual footage from the HD-quality cameras on-board the rovers. It might have helped the common laymen if the filmmakers had indicted where the CGI stopped and the actual footage from mars began. I've been so engrossed by the rover missions (NASA made all the rover stills, panoramas and video available for download to the public, ever since the missions began [...]) I knew when I was when observing actual film-footage from mars, but I hadn't witnessed the utter clarity of the videos by playback on the computer. I'm astounded by the fact that the rovers are still up there working after four years, and this DVD will have a special place in my heart and in my imagination for the rest of my life imprisoned here on the earth.
In reference to the low ratings listed here: pretty much all IMAX documentaries are less than 60 minutes because of the giant-size of the actual IMAX film used for projection in IMAX theaters. I think its well worth twenty-bucks. It's something you'll proudly enjoy showing to your friends; providing you have a quality TV screen or projector.
This 40-minute film is disappointing, however. It's short on science; there is no discussion of the launch planning, the path of the rover as it travels to Mars, or any interesting facts. What is its weight? How did the timing work? How did the engineers design the rover, and measure its performance? What materials were used in its implementation? What diagnostics did it have? How much power did it use? What challenges were involved in surviving the harsh Martian atmosphere, its cold, the dust, and its chemistry?
The questions I have are simple, and endless. This film addressed none of them, I'm afraid. Worse, as others have pointed out, there's very little actual footage from the rovers. Most of the CGI scenes are flawed -- seeing stars through the shadowed surface of the moon, for example.
I admire the engineers and explorers in our space programs as heroes. This film does them disservice by failing to tell their wonderful story.
The "Roving Mars" DVD has both standard 4x3 and 16x9 (enhanced) formats. The latter fits a HDTV screen perfectly (1.78:1 aspect ratio) and looks superb when played from an upscaling or HD DVD player.
The introduction is narrated by a noticeably feeble voice over by Paul Neuman. However, the main storyline is covered by the Lead Scientist, Steve Skyiers, who does a great job explaining the Mars Rovers - there are two, Spirit and Opportunity - without beating you up with technospeak.
"Rovering Mars" is only 40 minutes, but there are two extras provided on the same DVD; a 1957 Disney TV program called "Mars And Beyond", which is quite dated and rather cartoonish. Fortunately, there is another extra about 25 minutes in duration, called "Mars: Past, Present and Future". The latter is just as good as the main feature, a bunch of extra scenes that for whatever reason were (needlessly) editted out of the IMAX film.
The filmmakers did a great job with the animated special effects to accurately depict what the actual rocket launcher liftoffs from Cape Kennedy, and departures from Earth's gravity would have looked like from space. The Martian landings took place many months later, about three weeks apart. Amazingly realistic computer graphics were used to make this movie!
That said, the CG images were nicely done, and some of the scenes of them building the rovers were interesting. My final advice, rent it first (I did) before you decide if you really want to buy it. I'm going to save my money for something else.