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BMZ Review: Magnificent Desolation: Walking on the Moon (3D/2D)
By Paula Tagle

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© 2005 IMAX Corporation and Playtone

Magnificent Desolation: Walking on the Moon 3D
Written by: Paula Tagle
Source: Big Movie Zone
Date: October 13, 2005

     

Category: Reviews

IMAX's latest film, Magnificent Desolation: Walking on the Moon 3D, pays tribute to the 12 men who walked the moon while delivering beautiful impressions of what it may have been like to have been there.  Produced, co-written and narrated by Tom Hanks, the film's raison d'etre is to give the audience the uncanny illusion that they are participating in an actual moonwalk, which the film in fact does successfully.  But other than the fancy tricks of CGI and wired actors, the film offers little depth or even educational value.

The film opens with flitting images of past Apollo programs utilizing IMAX 3D beautifully, showing once again, IMAX's mastery in visual technology.  Immediately, the audience transports to the surface of the moon -- its landscape vast, bleak and utterly vacant.  The IMAX format effectively presents such an image of extreme isolation as both intimidating and alluring.

Though this image of the lunar terrain does at first appear powerful, the films adds nothing new to this experience as the film progresses.  Lacking any drama (human or otherwise), Desolation suffers from repetition -- the same image of a miniscule astronaut among lots and lots of gray dirt.

Although it's geared towards the educational market, the film offers nothing particularly scientific or enlightening about the moon or the Apollo missions.  Rather, it touches upon a certain aspect like the astronaut's spacesuit, claiming it as a complex system all its own, but explains nothing of why, how or what makes it so complex.  The film does, however, incorporate actual school kids talking about their knowledge (or lack thereof) of the Apollo missions, which really just comes off as a hammy recruiting technique.

Desolation never really gets into stride; it remains a meandering lot of factoids about the moon and the missions, instead having to create a what-if scenario just too add a little drama.  An all-star cast voices the film from Paul Newman to Matt Damon to Morgan Freeman, but most of the voice actors remain unnoticeable, except for perhaps an obvious (and unconvincing) voiceover by Bill Paxton.

Nevertheless, the film is as close as anyone can get to being on the moon.  Simply for the spectacular images, the film is a worthy enough experience and should prove exciting to young kids wanting moon rocks to fly at their faces.

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