SYN Nation

Review: Journey to Space 3D


Written and directed by Mark Krenzien

Run time: 45 minutes

You can’t really go wrong with making a space documentary. The images speak for themselves. Any glimpse we can get of that mind-bending outer world is enough to make us salivate. Journey to Space 3D doesn’t offer much more than a peek at what’s out there. It does travels leisurely through the history of space exploration and reminds us of how much we have already discovered, but its gaze is always fixed on the questions that remain unanswered.

Of course, most of the answers we do have tend to lead to yet more questions. Hopefully some of these will be answered with the first human mission to Mars. It often feels like writer/director Mark Krenzien has made a trailer for the documentaries he’ll be able to make after the astronauts have landed there, and I suppose that’s really all he needed to do. Watching the international preparations for the mission is as interesting as revisiting what was discovered in previous missions. Krenzein seamlessly alternates between real and virtual, recent and old footage of cosmic events, and integrates them well with details of the mechanical and biological considerations that need to be made in order to get us to these mysterious places. (Psychological considerations are mentioned but never discussed – although apparently we still know more about outer space than we do about the mind.) Anyone can marvel at these spectacular forces, great machines and daring astronauts, no matter how much of the science they happen to understand.

There were many times when I found myself zoning out of the narration simply to take it all in. The technical commentary is mostly very interesting, but there were many times when a decent period of silence would have been appreciated, so that I could absorb what I was seeing and what it all meant. When you’re seeing almost every physical rule you live by being bended and broken, sometimes you just need a quiet moment to ponder over it without being talked at. The bookending narration by Patrick Stewart was particularly unnecessary. It seems no space documentary is complete without a famous actor waxing philosophical about human nature. Just before Stewart has the final word, an expert puts into perspective just how isolated astronauts will be on Mars, and how self-reliant they’ll have to be. Apparently even a radio transmission will take more than 40 minutes to travel between the Red Planet and the Blue Planet. Clearly anyone willing to venture out there is someone whose desire to explore is greater than their desire for self-preservation. We do not need to be told that when it’s something we can see. What Journey to Space 3D shows us and informs us of is as breathtaking as you’d expect. If it is in our nature to want to know more about what is out there, this documentary is actually doing more than it needs to. 

– Christian Tsoutsouvas

Journey to Space is now showing in 3D at IMAX Melbourne Museum.

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