Friday, December 01, 2017

From the Archives - 'Cosmic Voyage': Ride of the New Millennium

This movie review appeared in The Metro Herald in August 1996:

Cosmic Voyage: Ride of the New Millennium
Rick Sincere
Metro Herald Entertainment Editor

A new film in the tradition of To Fly and The Blue Planet has opened at the Langley Theatre at the National Air and Space Museum. Called Cosmic Voyage, this IMAX film will give you the ride of your life.

Morgan Freeman Virginia Film Festival 2006 Cosmic Voyage Rick Sincere
Morgan Freeman (c) 2006 Rick Sincere
Narrated by award-winning actor Morgan Freeman, Cosmic Voyage takes its audience from inside the smallest atom in a drop of water to the outer reaches of the known universe. Using the latest scientific calculations and most current computer animation technologies, Cosmic Voyage offers a seamless blend of live-action and animation.

Cosmic Voyage premiered on August 8 as part of the Smithsonian Institution's 150th anniversary celebrations. As Dennis O'Connor, the Smithsonian's provost, put it, Cosmic Voyage is the Air and Space Museum's "candle for the Smithsonian's 150th birthday cake."

Last month, the Air and Space Museum marked the 20th anniversary of To Fly, one of the most popular IMAX offerings. According to Don Engen, director of the museum, To Fly has been seen by 13 million people in the Langley Theatre. Like Destiny in Space, its predecessor film that opened two years ago, Cosmic Voyage is what astronauts like to call "the next best thing to doing it."

Engen added that Cosmic Voyage was made with an audience of middle- and high-school students in mind, a view echoed by Gary Tooker, president of the Motorola Foundation (which financed the making of the film). Tooker told the opening night audience that "our future depends on nurturing the young minds interested in science and engineering, because that's the future of our company." He said that he and his colleagues at Motorola hope "people will be stimulated to think about the universe and the role we play in it."

Anyone seeing this film will, in fact, be struck by our tininess in comparison to the vastness of the universe -- and how big we humans are in comparison to protozoa and the atoms, electrons, and quarks that are the building blocks of all matter. Bayley Silleck, director of Cosmic Voyage, noted that the film's creative process was a "two-year adventure" that instilled "a sense of humility about our place in the universe."

It may be difficult, during the summer tourist season, to see Cosmic Voyage. Lines will no doubt be very long. If you want to experience the adventure, however, clip this article and pull it out sometime in January or February. I can't imagine a better antidote to mid-winter blues than participating in Cosmic Voyage's 35-minute roller-coaster ride. (Actually, I can: George Lucas has announced that his Star Wars trilogy will be re-released over President's Day weekend -- all three films to be screened in one day, with added special effects and new scenes. But until then, Cosmic Voyage deserves a visit.)

Cosmic Voyage
is that rare blend of short films -- both educational and entertaining. This is a family movie, appropriate for children and adults of all ages.

The complete Cosmic Voyage, directed by Bayley Silleck and narrated by Morgan Freeman, has been uploaded to YouTube:

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