A Beautiful Planet – A Beautiful Movie

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Narrated by – Jennifer Lawrence

Director of photography / Astronaut training manager – James L. Neihouse, ASC

Space operations – Marsha Ivins

Written and edited by – Toni Myers

Music by – Micky Erbe & Maribeth Solomon

Sound design – Peter Thillaye

Executive producer – Graeme Ferguson

Co-producer – Judy Carroll

Produced & directed by – Toni Myer

Rating: B+

Earth is our home. The towering buildings, expansion highways and growing cities are like cushioned chairs, paved trails and well-constructed rooms. The mountain ranges are designer rugs laying over continental sized carpet. The flowing masses of water are like a giant pool and our atmosphere with its rich blue sky is like a moving glass ceiling. The familiarity we have with our home has given us stability however as the sun sets above us we get a glimpse into the infinite reaches of space and with it, the chance to explore our world from a new perspective.

Jennifer Lawrence (Hunger Games/X-Men: Days of Future Past) gracefully narrates this spectacular tour of Earth. She introduces us to the brave men and women of the International Space Station. Far from home, these astronauts of diverse countries and various backgrounds spend extended periods of time in zero gravity. Living in the station is a huge gamble. A small rip in a space suit is the difference between life and death. The conservation of water for drinking and bathing is just as important as the air the astronauts breathe. Despite these conditions the communal life between the residents of the station forms an unscripted bond that lasts the length of six month stints if not more. In their daily routine there is a dedicated exercise regiment for two hours a day so they won’t lose bone density as they live in a weightless orbit.  To me, it really means something that the astronauts Yelena Serova, Barry “Butch” Wilmore, Terry Virts, and Dr. Kjell Lindgren were able to embrace above a world that has seen its fair share of wars. These cosmic explorers greeted each other like friends meeting by chance in a different country. Italian astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti enjoying her espresso in outer space and seeing Kimjya Yui’s difficulty at putting away fresh fruits as they floated away were some memorable crew moments. Astronauts are some of the most courageous human beings and now thanks to this presentation I can say, I have a better understanding of how it feels to be them.

At a staggeringly magnificent height the audience is given a star-view upon our Earth. I saw consecutive pulses of light that throbbed like heart beats which surprisingly turned out to be lightning from passing storm fronts. What appeared to be lakes of sapphire turn out to be gigantic oceans with lavish islands seemingly floating in the distance. The quiet center of a voracious hurricane observed from a bird’s eye view just esteems a majestic splendor. The sunlit continents flourish with life but not everywhere. Highlighted in the motion picture were areas that represented a need for significant change. The biggest reminder of this was the rugged vision of Mars which may be Earth’s dry and desolate future unless some ramifications to our environment occur soon. After the setting of the sun came the black veil of night. In that sudden darkness there were lights by the thousands and millions. Veins of electric vitality marked the hubs of human civilization. Populated cities powered in the basking glow of centauries of innovation. Mighty metropolitan areas took on a patterned yellow glow. The greater the intensity of the glow, the larger the city.

This motion picture was made in cooperation with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) which translates to this documentary being out of this world but also about ourselves. The International Space Station is like a metaphor for our own Earth. Floating in space with a number of resources and a variety of people gathered in one place. This film in itself is a travel wish list in my opinion. I have seen storms, the Sun, Mars, peerless oceans, the fluorescent dance of energy called the Aurora Borealis and even Kepler, a planet similar to Earth  just 500 light years away. Director Toni Myer’s (Hubble 3D / Space Station 3D) cinematic prowess made me want to be an astronaut all over again. While watching this in IMAX 3D brought me as close to being there as a space shuttle, maybe even closer. The beautiful part of all this is that you can go on a visual voyage there too.

For more information please visit: abeautifulplanet.imax.com

 

About Perry Boyd

october, 2021

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