A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this documentary about NASA’s final shuttle expedition to repair a broken part of the Hubble telescope is an educational goldmine offering facts about space and a bounty of images of distant galaxies caught by the instrument. Kids and grown-ups alike will enjoy this excursion into space via 3-D IMAX technology. Due to the 3-D effects, younger kids might find the viewing experience slightly unsettling and might need help adjusting to the special viewing glasses.
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What's the story?
Floating thousands of miles above our planet, the Hubble telescope brought images of the universe down to Earth, including nooks and crannies that date back billions of years. But soon after it was launched in 1990, scientists discovered one of its mirrors had a flaw; a handful of shuttle trips to mend it took place, but after the crash of the Columbia shuttle in 2003, it looked like there would be no more trips. But in May 2009 a crew made one last stop, IMAX camera in tow. HUBBLE 3D tells their story.
Is it any good?
Avatar might have taken 3-D to another level, but this fascinating documentary proves the technology is satisfyingly applicable to nonfiction films, too. Space, already an awesome cinematic subject, seems, in fact, more wondrous with it, turning a world that most can only imagine into something almost palpable. Screened only in IMAX theatres, the 3-D effect is heightened, making for an experience that’s part thrill ride, part astronomy lesson, and all entertainment. (Leonardo DiCaprio’s narration echoes the audience’s amazement.) At 43 minutes, the film is hyper-efficient, and we long for a little more insight into the astronauts themselves. And if only the 3-D effect would stay stable at all angles; one wrong shift can make the images seem wobbly through the special glasses viewers need, but these are small quibbles for a straightforwardly awesome film.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about what it must be like for the astronauts who journey into space. What drives them to sign up for such an adventure, and how difficult do you think it is to perform such mundane tasks as removing bolts amid the splendor of the universe?
How did the 3-D effects change the viewing experience? Do you think it was improved, or was it too distracting? Did you experience any strange physical effects from the 3-D?
Why were scientists determined to make it out to Hubble one more time? Does it seem like a worthy endeavor?
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