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  • This movie is a pretty decent IMAX flick. Tom Hanks makes for a great narrator. The content was very interesting and often quite funny. The music is on-par with major Hollywood films (although it got a little sappy at the end, but that's IMAX for you). It did a good job of discussing all the Apollo missions, and not just 11.

    I only found out afterwards how many famous voices were involved. I recognized Morgan Freeman, but that was it. This is a Good Thing. The film did not let the "talent" get in the way of the story. In other words, the star of the show was the history and information, and not the voice work.

    This movie did NOT need to be in 3D. More than half of it was archive footage, which obviously was not shot with a 3D camera. Often the footage was shrunk down to appear 3D against a generic background. The recreated lunar landing was the only part that took real advantage of the 3D cameras, but it was in no way necessary to be shot in 3D.

    That being said, it was a pleasant way to spend an hour. Make sure to sit in a red seat if you see it in the Lockheed-Martin theatre at the Air and Space Museum for optimum 3D viewing.
  • I went to see DESOLATION this afternoon with the hope of it delivering on the hype: namely, a virtual walk on the moon.

    Well...it does deliver that...but in frustrating snippets.

    After all, with only 40 min of film time (for $10.50), I was really hoping for an immersion experience, start to finish. Instead...the actual scenes devoted to 3-D moonscape are rarely longer than 10 seconds each, interspersed with 10 MINUTES of inane filler material...like cute school kids trying to remember the names of the Apollo astronauts. Sheesh...very much 'spell breaking'.

    So...you do come away with a few shots to remember. But a virtual 'experience' of being on the surface of the moon?? Not really. More like an MTV experience of being on the moon, for the attention span challenged.

    Josh
  • laughing_cat19 October 2005
    Today I took my 3rd graders on a field trip to see this film. We were mesmerized! I know that the kids were mostly blown away by the great 3D effects, but that's OK. Hopefully they absorbed a little bit of the science that was discussed.

    It is fantastic. People of all ages will enjoy it. I highly recommend it if you can find this film in your area.

    Two things I liked: the way To Hanks included the "first quotes" of other moon walkers (since the only one we ever hear about is Neil Armstrong's.) I also liked the scenario of what "could have happened" if there was a glitch with the moon rover during the moon landings.

    See it--you'll love it.
  • phillipstephenso19 September 2006
    I saw this movie at our local IMAX theater at the Pink Palace Museum, Memphis, which has a screen that is about 30 feet high. The scenes of the Moon were so detailed that it was a sensory overload for me. So, I had to restrict my vision (and attention) to just a small section of the screen to avoid dizziness and vertigo. It must take a strong constitution to be an astronaut, due to an inevitable sensory overload. I get dizzy just climbing up a ladder. I know I would get a severe case of vertigo if I actually witnessed the Earth rising above the wasteland of the Moon. But, this film is excellent for young adventurers, who aspire to travel to the Moon. I am sure that vacations to the Moon will be as numerous in coming centuries as cruises to the Caribbean are today. The numerous scientific skills associated with space travel are endlessly fascinating to developing young minds. Tom Hanks, however, does a good job of warning us of the dangers of space flight and the heroism of American astronauts, who, quite literally, gave their lives to the pursuit of the dangerous vocation of space travel and exploration.
  • Outstanding! What a great tribute to the Apollo space program. A great use of 3D technology. I loved all of the star voices sitting in for the Apollo astronuats. I recognized some of them, not all of them. This movie - only about 45 minutes long - shows us past footage and new footage of what it was like to fly an Apollo mission to the moon. Including hypothetical worst case scenarios and what moon travel might be like in the future. For those who remember the Apollo missions, this will be a great reminder and tribute to those days of the late 60's & 70's. And for those who have no frame of reference, what a great way to learn about what it was like. The 3D effects are outstanding, not gimmicky. Please go see this movie and take your kids. I remember very little of the Apollo missions when they occurred, but this movie actually had me choked up at the end. I only wish it was longer...
  • matthew-g-russell23 November 2005
    This movie is shockingly short. Granted I did not check the run time before purchasing a ticket, but I expected the movie to be longer.

    Also, despite excellent effects, amazing pictures (especially when viewed in a IMAX 3D), and excellent narration; the movie did not contain much information. The movie gives more of the feelings behind a journey to the moon, pointing out how something might have gone wrong, that it's a long journey, the people to take the journey were heroes, etc... No actual useful information. This disappointed me as I was expecting something educational.

    One thing I the movie did provide was less popular comments from less known astronauts from the other Apollo missions.

    Other than the short length and the lack of educational comment, it was enjoyable to watch. The visual effects are surprising and realistic (at times, because of the 3d effects you feel the sudden urge to dodge something or get out of the way of something coming at you)
  • If you saw the superb 2007 documentary, "In the Shadow of the Moon", I am not certain what the point would be in viewing this forty-minute 2005 IMAX film - at least if you are old enough to remember the television coverage of the Apollo missions. The former film includes spectacular archival footage of those missions and insightful on-camera interviews with ten of the surviving astronauts. This one is aimed more directly as a motivational film for a youthful audience as it seeks to reignite the pioneering spirit that sparked the first space flights. NASA aficionado Tom Hanks wrote and produced (along with director Mark Cowen) this enthralling if somewhat cursory look at what it took to get to the moon and what it will take to continue the legacy. The film not only recreates some of the actual Apollo lunar missions but also posits what could have happened had disaster struck. The result adds a suspenseful element obviously designed to engage younger viewers.

    Hanks applies his storytelling skills to full dramatic effect during these fictitious interludes. They are intertwined with a whirlwind of facts presented in a breezy manner, an especially effective tactic in chronicling mankind's fascination with the moon since this film is meant to inspire as well as to educate. To reinforce the approach, there is a series of quick interviews with youngsters that bookend the featurette showing how the space race has completely preceded them and how it could be resuscitated for the next generation of lunar exploration which targets us back on the moon by 2016. A number of famous actors provide the voices of the astronauts - Matt Damon, Morgan Freeman, Paul Newman - but few are recognizable. The 3-D visual effects are lost on the 2007 DVD, though I think not as much as the elongated dimensions provided by an IMAX theater. Even more than the technical elements, what really brings the film together is Hanks' obvious enthusiasm for the subject. The DVD includes additional video footage and photographs from the Apollo 11 mission plus a trivia game.
  • Wow doesn't begin to do justice to the experience of this movie. Thank you Tom Hanks for your passion and for helping us to understand what it was like to be there through this film, and through the mini-series From the Earth to the Moon.

    Today I saw Magnificent Desolation at my local IMAX and I highly recommend it to anyone who was a child of the space race or an adult during that time. I found the make-up of the crowd really interesting; a lot of guys in their 40's like me who probably built all the spacecraft models as kids, taking their own children to the movie to show them what going to the moon was all about.

    For me, it was like a religious experience. At the beginning there is a shot they created of Buzz Aldrin climbing down the ladder of the lunar module to take his first steps, and the viewer's perspective is of standing about 100 feet away on the surface, watching. It was so realistic I felt I had been transported back in time and was watching the history making event as it actually happened. For a few moments I was overwhelmed at the sudden realization of what Armstrong and Aldrin had experienced, and literally had tears in my eyes while watching the scene.

    The 3D effects on the IMAX screen are so good that you find you often need to refocus your eyes to look at different things in the scene. It's a bit disconcerting at first, compared to a normal movie, but after a few minutes you adjust and enjoy the experience.

    Shots of the inside of the Apollo 15 lunar module as it was descending to the plain at Hadley were very cool, and looking out the window was almost like being there. It was very realistic. On the lunar surface they did a fantastic job of integrating the high quality still photos taken by the astronauts to create a lunar landscape that was so real looking you would swear you could reach out and pick up a rock to take home.

    The movie is relatively short (less than 50 mins.) so the documentary content is brief and concise, focusing on the concept/vision of going to the moon rather than a lot of details about how it was done (for that type of story, see the twelve episodes of From the Earth to the Moon). The documentary sections were interspersed with the re-creation of scenes showing what it was really like to land and work there. I left the theater with a true sense of understanding and awe of what it must have been like to have journeyed to the moon.

    Two thumbs up
  • Magnificent Desolation plays mostly as a promotional piece for young, would-be astronauts. The impetus for the production, it seems, was the thought that interest in the Moon, and space exploration in general, has been waning. The film is about one-third education, one-third inspiration and one-third mystifying 3-D visual effects.

    At 40 minutes, it's a short number -- which suits school children well. Now that my attention span has grown with age, however, I wished it had been longer and the recreated 3-D scenes had been more embellished -- maybe an adult version fraught with fictional peril. I became greedy for more time in the 3rd dimension.

    The three-dimensional visuals are stunning – like none that I have ever seen. The 3-D glasses are still somewhat clownish in appearance, but are an advancement compared to the cheap-paper disposals I am accustomed to, as they don't distort your view with hues of blue and red.

    I predict that there will be renewed interest in viewing films in 3-D, and Robert Zemeckis and Co. are wise to re-release the Polar Express in 3-D IMAX format this December.

    Although for the adult, the educational aspect may be a little rudimentary or underwhelming, Magnificent Desolation is inspiring, and I'm always willing to pay a few bucks for some inspiration; to be reminded of how incredibly amazing our achievements have been over the past 100 years, and how amazingly able we humans are at realizing dreams that still seem so impossible, so mystifying -- whether viewed through 3-D glasses or just contemplated on a clear night while looking up at the night's sky.

    To be the first man to ever set foot on the Moon is an ineffably fantastic feet; to think that you were the first person to set foot on something that every living inhabitant of this earth has looked upon since the inception of this planet. It's amazing -- one of the most extraordinary experiences one can have -- talk about "out of this world!" I didn't fully appreciate the awesomeness of this accomplishment until I was forced to think about it this past weekend while watching this film. So, I think the Magnificent Desolation is effective at getting audiences to think a little more about how amazing the original Apollo missions were.

    In closing, even though my matured tastes left me wanting more, in the end I think it best that Magnificent Desolation is what it is: a simple, short film that captivates the eyes, minds and, hopefully, hearts of young and old alike, inspiring us all to continue reaching and dreaming of things that appear beyond reach of human capacity, for Magnificent Desolation reminds us that how things appear is just that, illusionary appearance. In this world, during our lifetime, anything is possible.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    "Magnificent Desolation: Walking on the Moon 3D" is a 40-minute documentary short film from 10 years ago. As the title states, it takes a closer look at the exploration of space in the last decades and especially on the moon landings. I myself am not the biggest fan of the concept of reaching new heights record all the time and that is probably why I was not too amazed watching this one. Also, it got a bit too patriotic occasionally, even if Juri Gagarin is mentioned in the closing credits as well. And the way, people who are critical about the actual moon landings are talked about is a bit embarrassing and lacks all seriousness.

    This film actually has quite a few people in here that also worked on the suer-successful "Apollo 13" 10 years earlier, such as Emmy winner Christopher G. Cowen or Tom Hanks, who narrates this one. However, Hanks is not the only big name here: Bryan Cranston, Matt Damon, Morgan Freeman, Matthew McConaughey and John Travolta is a collection of big names that you won't find in most Hollywood blockbuster movies. Anyway, this one is only worth a watch for those with a great interest in space aviation. The visual side is pretty good, but in terms of the contents I cannot say I was thrilled watching this. Not recommended.
  • This documentary film tells the details of the Apollo space missions, and what it was like for the twelve highly privileged astronauts to walk on the moon.

    "Magnificent Desolation" gives us details of what it is like to walk on the moon. It is a behind the scenes documentary, and we get to see footage we would otherwise not see, such as astronauts tripping over on the moon. We are told that every minute of the moon walk is planned, and there is no time to waste. And an astronaut left his family photo on the moon for future generations to discover. It is filled with little facts that you otherwise would not see elsewhere. The real surprise was the narration. I didn't realise they were all celebrity voices and not astronaut voices, so when the credits rolled, I was shocked to see so many big names.

    As a documentary, "Magnificent Desolation" is not particularly entertaining or educational. I did not leave the film thinking I have learned more. It contained fun facts to know nonetheless.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    My public library has the DVD of this film. I was able to see it on a 52-inch 1080P HDTV and played with an upconverting 1080P player. With that combination it is a remarkably clear and life-like presentation. Not quite IMAX, but very nice.

    By way of history, I was a pre-teen in the 1950s when Russia launched the Sputnik, and I remember watching the sky with my dad, searching for a view of it. So in my lifetime the first artificial satellite was put into orbit, the first men into space, and the first men to land and walk on the moon.

    For me this is a wonderful film. It in a way ties all that together, and using both actors and simulated moon landscapes combined with actual 1960s moon landing footage, gives us an up-close experience of what the moon landings must have been like.
  • Can't wait for this to be released -- the latest 3D Space IMAX movie. We heard a sneak preview at the National Space Society conference in Washington DC, and it was awesome. Film is produced by Tom Hanks, and helmed by Mark Cowen. The idea is simple: recreate the authentic experience of the Apollo moon astronauts using the 3D IMAX format. They are pulling out all the stops to give the actual sensation of what the Apollo astronauts saw, heard and felt in their voyage to and on the Moon. Authentic imagery, digitally manipulated for the high res Imax experience. Plus sets which recreate the lunar environment down to the little boulders in the pictures. They've got lots of astronaut participation, which is promising. This is really where IMAX is unrivaled -- transporting audiences to an inaccessible place. Highly appropriate for it to come out now, when NASA is planning to start its new Moon program. Until lunar tourism is a reality, this sounds like our best bet. You are go for liftoff!
  • ludovica3618 February 2006
    Well, This was my first IMAX experience so I was pretty blown away about that, primarily; although with hindsight, I can't help wishing that it had been some other (less monochrome)film.

    Magnificent Desolation very much had the "Programme for Schools" feel the way it listed all the astronauts and this made it feel a LOT like reading National Geographic Magazine in 3D. Weirdly it actually had a very two dimensional quality that only occasionally exploded into reality and a lot of time it felt like some PowerPoint Presentation. There was a moment in the film when an unnoticed abyss opens; seemingly at your feel, that had a bit of a WOW factor but to be honest, that may have had more to do with me being an IMAX virgin.

    The commentary, provided by Tom Hanks, I personally found very, (what's a nice way to put it??) "flag-wavingly nationalistic" which didn't go down too well in central London, judging by remarks overheard as we left.

    Over all, I loved the IMAX experience, but dearly wish a different film had been on on that day. The Moon isn't a particularly colourful subject and to be honest, a lot of the 3D effects were lost in the monochrome scenery. All that would have been well, were it not for the documentary inserts and distractions like the interviews with American schoolchildren which spoiled it a bit
  • Warning: Spoilers
    The first time I saw "Magnificent Desolation" I was very impressed with it, in particular the "you are there" feeling of watching this in IMAX. If I had rated the movie when I left the theatre that first time, I would have given it a 10.

    But then, I watched it again. That was when I started to get annoyed with the film. Why do we hear the blast of rockets in the vacuum of space? And even the footfalls of the astronauts on the moon? Why are we being shown lots of cute schoolchildren posing for the camera, rather than spending the time talking about the engineering and hard work that made this possible? Why are we listening to recorded actors, rather than some interviews with surviving astronauts?

    And, to top if off, why do we have the melodramatic near-final scene of "what would have happened if...", instead of just documenting the incredible events that actually DID happen? Was reality not exciting enough for the film makers? So, I'm giving it a begrudging 5. They could have done SO much better with this.
  • The world now seems to be in an odd stage of downsizing, in which objects such as DVD and CD players are steadily decreasing in size. It is obviously much cooler to have a smaller iPod than a larger one. This is not so with theater screens, as is the case with the IMAX, the enormous, widely-known theater system that has stunned audiences upon its release, and to this day. As long as the material's right.

    The main problem with 'Magnificent Desolation: Walking on the Moon 3D" is that it uses the huge screen as its main advantage. It is dull, uninformative, and relentlessly eager to please and amaze us with its corny special effects and inspiring quotes from famous names such as Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin. Another problem with the film is that it doesn't even take the time to sit down and interview those lucky few who have had such an extraordinary experience as to have been to the moon. Instead, the writers have simply pressed COPY and PASTE and hired famous voices such as Morgan Freeman, Bill Paxton, and Matt Damon to imitate their famous quotes. This tactic is unrelentingly repetitive and tedious.

    I'd say without one moment's hesitation that I didn't learn one piece of information from the film that I didn't already know.

    And it repeatedly insisted on irritating the crap out of me with its insistent sentimentality. Every three minutes there seems to be a cue for Tom Hanks' voice to say something like "Without the contributions of these brave men and women..." Watching the film is like watching a bad commercial. For forty agonizing minutes.

    1/4
  • I wish I had the time to express how much this movie moved me. So, please just take my word for it, the movie is very INSPIRING and well worth it! I think it is great for kids and adults alike and really gives you a sense of "awe", looking at this great accomplishment of mankind in 3D. In watching the movie, it made me realize just how much we often take this amazing feat for granite. I plan to take all my children to see this to help them gain a new perspective and respect for this achievement.

    I truly hope this movie with help inspire a new generation to achieve even more than the last, and to stand on our shoulders and reach even further. It is worth it… take the family, go see it and be proud!
  • Magnificent Desolation: Walking on the Moon 3D is another amazing IMAX film by NASA and Lockheed Martin. Not since Space Station 3D (2002) have I seen such a tribute to astronauts, their missions and the space program. While Magnificent Desolation is not quite as impressive as Space Station 3D (all footage filmed on location) it is still a "world rocker" to be sure. It really makes you feel like you are on the moon as a spectator watching the astronauts. I'd love to see them ad another 75 minutes to these films. even the skeptics should go see this one. It's as close as you're going to get unless NASA/Lockheed has another moon mission and films it in 3D.
  • This movie should be seen along with "In the Shadow of the Moon" as well as "For All Mankind". The last one I mentioned, "For All Mankind", came out around 1992 and the producers actually had a very hard time making it due to a limited budget as well as limited interest overall at that time. It should be mentioned that after the first moon landing interest by most people quickly faded. In fact, by the time of the last landing, Apollo 17, public interest was so low that NASA supposedly paid the networks to show the moonwalks of Cernan and Schmidt. I do remember that even then the moonwalks were shown in split screen along with college and pro football games so as not to alienate the average TV viewer (please remember that this was long before we had all the cable channels and home video recorders). The moon walks were really a disappointment; that is why I, for one, do not expect to see any again for a long time. Some other country may put a man or men on the moon to show the world they can do so, but it will probably be a one time deal for publicity only. The possibility of a moon base in our lifetime is rather low.

    Which is why this film is so great. It actually revives interest in these old missions by showing details that were not shown when they first aired. The depiction of the landing process for Apollo 15 was fantastic; and now I can see how the astronauts went through the landing procedure. This film even provides a better look on the Apollo 11 moonwalk-something that my generation could not quite as well with that black & white TV camera that the astronauts used on that very historic night. Oh, we saw a lot that night, but the overall perspective was missing. That is what is so great about this film. The dangers faced by the Apollo 15 moon walkers (falling down into the canyon) were not understood very well by NASA, let along the average TV viewer of that time (such as me). This film shows the "hidden" dangers quite well!! Much more exciting that way than when we were viewing the moon walk live!

    It is a great film. I was a teenager when the walks took place and quite frankly I could live the rest of my life quite happily without seeing another one occurring. The problem is that kids the age of my grandkids did not see those walks and nobody really knows when they will be able to see one. Therefore, this film is great as it shows them what we saw; in even better color and detail. It is misleading as the quotes from the astronauts were not actually read by those people; the movie implies the voices heard were those astronauts. In reality, the quotes were being read by professional actors. To see the actual astronauts and hear them speak you need to watch, "In the Shadow of the Moon". Still, this is a 40 minute movie well worth seeing; I certainly enjoyed it. Enjoyed it even better than watching some of those moon walks when they were actually happening!!!!!
  • Good flick, but now that the Democrats are in power, you can forget about the space program. They have starved the program at the cost of astronauts' lives, and they have interfered in every aspect. Why do they do this? Because they want to keep us bottled up in cities where they are in control and can suck the life out of us with taxes and fascist laws. So don't look to the sky or dare to dream, because they are going to continue to sabotage efforts to improve mankind at every turn. Cynically, they use the old wheeze that "we should be worrying about problems right here on Earth. They say this at a time when they have make stuff up using junk science, in order to have enough problems for a platform.