Article first published as Blu-ray 3D Review: 'Galactic Adventures Double Feature: 3D Sun/Mars 3D' on Blogcritics.
After having reviewed both Space Junk 3D and Gravity, there’s one place I never want to visit aside from the safety of my living room or theater: space. And the double feature Galactic Adventures: 3D Sun/Mars 3D
isn’t doing it any favors either. Available on Blu-ray 3D December 3,
the two NASA projects make their first adventure to the third dimension
in the comfort of your own home. Both are filled to the brim with facts
and stunning imagery, the likes of which you’ll never see outside of a
space ship window. Clocking in at a brisk 43 minutes, you’ll never lose
takes us back to October 2006, as NASA launches two spacecraft to give
us the first ever high-definition 3D imagery of the sun. NASA’s
Madhulika Guhathakurta (STEREO Program Scientist), William Murtagh
(Space Environment Center), and Richard Fisher (Director Heliophysics
Division) all discuss the potential to predict storm patterns within two
hours, and show us glowing auroras, the Earth’s Magnetosphere, and
explain how while the sun may be 93 million miles from Earth, solar
blasts and Coronal Mass Ejections can be just as dangerous to us on
Earth as anything out in orbit.
Mars 3D is interesting because it’s the first time NASA’s 3D
footage has been adapted for public viewing. Putting you literally on
the surface of Mars, now we can view the landscapes of our closest
planet — which, more than likely, was and still may be able to sustain
life at some point. Thanks to the Mars rovers “Spirit” and “Opportunity”
NASA finally had a firsthand glimpse of the surface — including the
Columbia Hills — and was able to investigate the surface as fully as
they could at the time.
I was worried about how both films would look being in 3D, and piled
onto a 25GB Blu-ray disc. Considering they’ve included both the 3D and
2D versions of both features didn’t give me much hope either. Plus, 3D Sun is the only feature in 1080p; Mars 3D
is presented in 720p with both in a 1.78:1 aspect ratio. Thankfully,
Image Entertainment continues to deliver top notch 3D experiences in
spite of the small disc space.
There are some soft shots here and there and the 3D gets put to better use in 3D Sun; the first 10 minutes of Sun’s
20-minute runtime is in 2D. Halfway through you’re finally prompted to
put on your 3D glasses to see the Mars footage in surprising detail for
only 720p. Aside from some minor banding and aliasing Image continues to
knock their 3D features out of the park. Both films feature 5.1 DTS-HD
Master Audio tracks that are very front heavy considering there’s so
much voiceover, but the rear speakers make the most of expanding the
music with some deep LFE thrown in here and there for good measure.
There are no special features included, aside from trailers for the additional 3D Blu-rays: Ultimate Wave Tahiti 3D, Mummies – Secrets of the Pharaohs 3D, Dinosaurs Alive 3D, Dinosaurs – Giants of Patagonia 3D, Legends of Flight 3D, Wild Ocean 3D, Rescue 3D, Space Junk 3D,
along with the feature you’re already watching. With how much
information is packed into the features themselves, there really isn’t a
whole lot you could add. Plus, the more they crammed onto the disc, the
bigger toll it would have taken on the picture quality.
As they stand, both 3D Sun and Mars 3D are a fantastic
addition to the growing number of educational 3D features coming out of
the Image Entertainment pipeline. The government may have shut down
NASA’s space program, but thankfully there are still plenty of these
programs to keep us enlightened.