• A Beautiful Planet (Mill Creek Entertainment) UHD/Blu-ray Combo Pack Review

    Released by: Mill Creek Entertainment
    Released on: December 11th, 2018.
    Director: Stephen Judson, Greg MacGillivray
    Cast: Jennifer Lawrence, NASA Astronauts
    Year: 2016
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    A Beautiful Planet – Movie Review:

    Directed by Stephen Judson, Greg MacGillivray and narrated by Jennifer Lawrence, A Beautiful Planet was shot, in IMAX format, pretty much entirely in and around the International Space Station. Made with the full cooperation of NASA, it proves to be an interesting look – quite literally – at how our planet appears from the ISS, with some insight into the effects that global warming is having on the Earth.

    The short feature follows a trio of astronauts as they prepare for a six-month stint in the ISS’ zero gravity environment. We learn how they do things we take for granted, like wash their hair, and the importance of regular exercise in this weightless world. We see how they celebrate holidays and get a feeling for the camaraderie that develops between them. This is interesting in and of itself, particularly if you’ve got an interest in space travel, but it’s the footage shot outside the space station that really makes this presentation as impressive as it is.

    When the cameras travel outside, we’re treated to some absolutely gorgeous cinematography showing off the planet from a height most of us will never get to see it from. The narration explains what we’re seeing – how borders such as the one that exists between North and South Korea can explain why light placement suddenly stops as the camera moves across that part of the Asian continent, for example – and why it matters. As Lawrence discusses what the different angles portray and how we’re able to quite literally see some of the effects of climate change from this high up, you can’t help but get wrapped up in it all.

    At forty-minutes in length, this is a fairly quick watch but it’s interesting enough that fans of IMAX documentaries will want to give it a shot.

    A Beautiful Planet – Blu-ray Review:

    The 2160p HEVC / H.26 transfer is framed at 1.78.1 widescreen and is presented with HDR. Some of the footage included in this feature is, in a word, stunning. The footage captured outside of the space station almost feels three dimensional at times, with impressive detail and beautiful color reproduction complimented by reference quality black levels that really go a long way towards showing off the infinite darkness of space. The footage shot inside the space station also looks good, but the scenery just isn’t quite as interesting even if much of the material is. These scenes also show great detail and nice depth but they don’t quite compare to the exterior shots – which are the real reason to want to check this out.

    The English language DTS-X track on the disc is also quite impressive. While Lawrence’s narration primarily stays up in the front and center of the mix, the music and some of the sound effects are effectively placed throughout the various channels and add quite a bit to the production. The score in particular sounds really nice here, showing excellent depth and range. Optional English subtitles are included on the disc.

    Extra are limited to three separate EPK style featurettes running roughly two to three minutes each. An Extraordinary Vision takes a quick look at what went into coordinating and directing the film, IMAX: Astronaut Filmmakers gives us some insight into the personalities of the different astronauts. involved in the project and ABP Computing explores some of the technology used in the shoot. This are interesting, but brief.

    The UHD disc comes bundled with a standard Blu-ray disc as well as an insert card redeemable for an HD digital download of the feature. Both discs and the insert fit inside a black standard sized Blu-ray case that in turn fits inside a glossy slipcover.

    A Beautiful Planet – The Final Word:

    You don’t have to be a space geek or a science nerd to enjoy A Beautiful Planet. It’s a very accessible and enjoyable general interest look at an important topic that makes use of some occasionally jaw dropping footage to hammer home the weight of its message. Mill Creek’s 4k UHD/Blu-ray combo pack release is light on extras but it does present this IMAX feature with a beautiful transfer and very fine audio. Recommended!

    Click on the images below for full sized A Beautiful Planet Blu-ray screen caps!

    Comments 1 Comment
    1. Maureen Champ's Avatar
      Maureen Champ -
      It is narrated by mother!Earth btw