Since the visuals were supposed to be so great I took a chance and watched it in 3-D IMAX format. My previous experiences with 3-D have been pretty bad but this time it worked out pretty well. The bigger screen and higher resolution seem to help a lot. I did not get a headache and did not perceive an annoying flicker.
Still I don’t think the 3-D actually contributed much to the experience. In fact it looked kind of fake. It seems hard to make the illusory depth come out right. It still feels like looking into an old View-Master, not like looking through a window at a real scene.
Bottom line: the big IMAX screen is great, the 3-D not so much. The old 2-D IMAX format would be better but unfortunately no one is showing it in that format.
The story begins with a routine Space Shuttle mission to upgrade the Hubble Space Telescope. (This is clearly an alternate space travel universe since we no longer have Space Shuttles but the Chinese don’t yet have a space station.) A disaster occurs. Two astronauts played by Sandra Bullock and George Clooney are separated from the shuttle and left drifting in space. This is just the beginning of a thrill-a-minute adventure set in the spectacular scenery of low earth orbit.
Why don’t I give it 5 stars? In spite of the technical excellence this is ultimately just another disaster movie in which the heroes are pummeled by a seemingly endless series of threats which by all logic should kill them. But it wouldn’t be much of a movie if everybody died so they have to come up with some sort of happy ending regardless.
This probably isn’t a classic but I still think it is well worth watching.