Condensing the history and future of space exploration into a 42-minute IMAX film, Journey to Space includes footage that makes you feel like an astronaut. The insider look at NASA is paired with narration by Patrick Stewart and dramatic music.
The movie covers the space shuttle program’s accomplishments, the International Space Station, the Hubble Space Telescope, the two space shuttle disasters (Challenger and Columbia), the retirement of NASA’s space shuttles, the planned future exploration of deep space with the Orion vehicle, the possibility and pitfalls of sending people to Mars, the design and mobility of space suits, and innovative plans for an inflatable habitat in space. In parts of the film, the narration is handled by an astronaut, adding to the behind-the-scenes feel.
The movie closes with a line – “We are a species that explores” – that sums up the focus of the film.
While the movie is 3D, there were not many times that objects appeared to be coming off the 74-by-48-foot screen (one exception was a part where astronauts are floating around while eating and their food was headed right at us). Nonetheless, there was lots of impressive footage that really made you feel part of the action.
My 5- and 9-year-old boys were engrossed in the movie and also enjoyed eating the astronaut ice cream we bought at a gift stand beforehand. There really wasn’t anything in the movie that was frightening, though the big screen and vivid scenes could strike some kids as intense.
Journey to Space is playing at the 487-seat Lockheed Martin IMAX Theater at the National Air and Space Museum in D.C. The movie, which debuted in March 2015, is not rated and is expected to be shown for about a year. Tickets are $9; $7.50 for children ages 2-12. The theater is located on the ground floor of the museum. The film will also open at the museum’s Airbus IMAX Theater at the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center in Chantilly when the theater reopens after renovations in early May 2015.