There are still those among us who believe that our journeys to the moon are nothing more than staged illusions. I suppose there is good reason for that, but I’ve never bought into it. There are skeptics everywhere about everything, but space travel and the concept of extraterrestrial life seem to attract larger hordes of skeptics. It is the true unknown. Magnificent Desolation: Walking On The Moon 3D touches upon this idea, but, like me, the film has a much bigger imagination than most skeptics can handle.
Magnificent Desolation uses beautiful reenactments to put us right in the thick of the action. A theoretical space emergency is even depicted with detail and care. Some may have issues with this, but the film is about the wonder and satisfaction of exploring our galaxy. Only twelve people have ever set foot on the moon, and since it would cost untold millions to send a shuttle full of gear to the moon for filming, I guess we’ll just have to go with this – if you know what I mean. We wear the silly 3D goggles, but it’s worth it in this case. 3D has come a long way since I last experienced it, but it is still gimmicky and not perfect. But, getting dust sprayed in my face by a lunar vehicle in Magnificent Desolation was much more convincing than last experience, when I was dubiously sent over Niagara Falls in a barrel.
Surprisingly enough, Magnificent Desolation is aimed primarily at the youngsters. Significant time is devoted to the dreams of young boys and girls to be astronauts (who didn’t want to be an astronaut when they were in elementary school?) and one girl’s dreams are even enacted in the film’s closing minutes. The history of our journeys to the moon is delivered in an easily digestible manner, but I have a strong feeling that the target audience will be too awestruck by the 3D to care. For parents, fond memories of the historic moments depicted will be plentiful.
The film is narrated by Tom Hanks, whose love for space has never been a secret. He, along with a laundry list of A-list stars, brings a nice rush of excitement to the project, with each voicing a different astronaut or individual. I have always maintained that piling on recognizable voices for films like this one can be distracting, and Magnificent Desolation is no exception. People will inevitably be playing the “whose voice is it?” game in a shrill whisper.
Quibbles aside, Magnificent Desolation delivers the eye candy we all expect from IMAX and has something for everyone. 3D still has room for improvement (haven’t we been saying that for decades?) but the clarity here is among the most impeccable I’ve ever experienced. Space lovers will dig it, skeptics will scoff it, and the rest will simply take in the sparse, but beautiful, terrain of an entity that’s in the sky every night; and one that so many of us only dream of setting foot on.
Studio: IMAX Corporation
Length: 40 Minutes
Rating: Not Rated (It is appropriate for all ages).
Theatrical Release: September 23, 2005
Directed by: Mark Cowen
Written by: Christopher G. Cowen & Mark Cowen & Tom Hanks.
Cast: Tom Hanks (voice), Buzz Aldrin (voice), Neil Armstrong (voice), Matt Damon (voice), Morgan Freeman (voice), Paul Newman (voice)