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Hail Columbia (IMAX)
Hail Columbia
Actor: James Whitmore
Director: Graeme Ferguson
Genres: Documentary
NR     2001     0hr 37min

Journey behind the scenes for the thrilling maiden voyage of the world's first space shuttle.DVD Features: Interactive Menus Other

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Movie Details

Actor: James Whitmore
Director: Graeme Ferguson
Creators: David Douglas, Graeme Ferguson, Haskell Wexler, Richard Leiterman, Ronald M. Lautore, Toni Myers, Phyllis Ferguson, Roman Kroitor
Genres: Documentary
Sub-Genres: History, Space Exploration, IMAX
Studio: Imax
Format: DVD - Color - Closed-captioned
DVD Release Date: 10/02/2001
Theatrical Release Date: 01/01/1994
Release Year: 2001
Run Time: 0hr 37min
Screens: Color
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 1
Members Wishing: 0
MPAA Rating: NR (Not Rated)
Languages: English
Subtitles: English, Spanish, German, French, Turkish, Greek

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Movie Reviews

Early IMAX, but Thrilling
Edward Sunder | Chattanooga, TN | 01/07/2003
(4 out of 5 stars)

"I watched this movie about 50 times when I was a counselor at Space Camp years ago and it was always my favorite of the IMAX films. While The Dream Is Alive, Blue Planet, etc. have much more IMAX footage, none of them compare with the adrenaline rush of Hail Columbia. The other space-oriented IMAX films that I have seen are much more documentary, while Hail Columbia is telling the exciting story of the first Space Shuttle launch. That storytelling aspect alone makes the difference for me and keeps me on the edge of my seat each time I watch it."
IMAX factor = 2 stars ... Goosebump factor = 5 stars!
Whodathotit | Sunnyvale, CA USA | 12/08/2003
(4 out of 5 stars)

"This DVD won't make you stare in wonder at beautiful IMAX space vista's, as the later IMAX/space shuttle films do. Only a minority of the film is in actual IMAX 70 mm. That aside, the later offerings don't get my goosebumps going quite like this DVD! Don't buy this DVD for the IMAX "wow" factor, but instead buy it for the incredible story of America's first shuttle launch and landing. The ending has some very interesting film of the shuttle being transported on the back of a modified 747 as they take off from the runway. Also at the end is a very inspiring segment of shuttle lift-off's. The screen is divided into three vertical slices, while footage of different launches cycle simultaneously. Quite moving. Audio quality of the main launch are not quite up to the standards set by the later IMAX/shuttle offerings, with noticeable distortion in the recording."
Take A Trip Back To April 12, 1981 .... And Re-Live The Very
David Von Pein | Mooresville, Indiana; USA | 08/09/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)

""Hail Columbia!" is a 36-minute IMAX documentary program, narrated by actor James Whitmore, which chronicles the maiden launch (and landing) of America's reusable "Space Transportation System" (aka: the Space Shuttle).

Video on this DVD is Full-Frame (1.33:1); with Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound audio provided.

I would have enjoyed a little more close-up footage of the Columbia orbiter during this IMAX program; and a few additional images of Earth as seen from Columbia would also have been a plus. But, overall, I enjoyed this IMAX presentation very much, and find myself re-visiting this disc quite often. The few pictures we do get from the Shuttle while in orbit are indeed spectacular. Freeze-frame comes in handy for these few short scenes. And they're crystal-clear as well.

A unique angle of Columbia's maiden liftoff on Sunday, April 12, 1981, is shown on the DVD, with impressive picture and sound quality. The very first Shuttle landing is also covered (sonic booms and all).

The youthful exuberance of Columbia's two-man crew (Commander John Young and Pilot Robert Crippen) is visibly demonstrated in this film after their incredible spacecraft completed its two-day, one-million-mile journey around the Earth. Following their impressive landing on Runway 23 at California's Edwards Air Force Base on April 14, 1981, the astronauts did everything but kick the tires as they walked around the orbiter with an unrestrained enthusiasm which seemed similar in nature to a young boy's realization that his first roller-coaster ride was a truly fun experience after all. (Heck, maybe John and Bob DID actually kick the Shuttle tires after the landing, too.) :-)

Watching this very successful first Shuttle flight into space becomes a bittersweet viewing experience today when pondering the ultimate fate of the Columbia orbiter 22 years after this initial mission. The very same Columbia spacecraft was tragically lost on February 1, 2003 (as "STS-107"), when the vehicle broke apart in flight while travelling at 12,500 MPH (Mach 18.3) at an altitude of 207,135 feet over East Central Texas (just minutes before its scheduled landing at Kennedy Space Center in Florida), resulting in the loss of the Shuttle vehicle and its seven-person crew.

Following are some interesting facts & figures & tidbits of Columbia info regarding the maiden Shuttle mission (designated "STS-1"):

LAUNCH --- April 12th, 1981. .... Liftoff from KSC (Kennedy Space Center) occurred at precisely three seconds past 7:00 AM (EST). .... Weight at Launch: 219,258 pounds.

ORBITING ALTITUDE --- 166 nautical miles.


DURATION OF MISSION --- 2 Days, 6 hours, 20 minutes, 53 seconds.

DISTANCE TRAVELLED --- 1,074,567 miles.

LANDING --- April 14th, 1981. .... Columbia touched down at Edwards AFB at 10:20:57 AM (PST). .... Rollout distance: 8,993 feet. .... Rollout time: 60 seconds. .... Landing Weight: 194,184 pounds.

The Columbia orbiter was returned to the Kennedy Space Center, from California, on April 28, 1981, atop its specially-modified Boeing 747 carrier aircraft.

The reusability of the Space Transportation System was demonstrated successfully with the launch of the second mission of the Columbia orbiter vehicle on November 12, 1981.

The first two Shuttle flights were remarkably similar in total length (and miles travelled). In fact, very nearly identical in those two respects -- with STS-2 logging 1,074,757 miles, which was a mere 190 more miles than STS-1 travelled. And the overall duration of both flights differed by a scant 7 minutes, 41 seconds.


Final Columbia Thought.......

If you're fascinated with the U.S. space program, then this well-produced IMAX DVD presentation of the very first Space Shuttle mission should be right up your alley. The program isn't a very long one, but still worth the price due to its historical content."
William Palumbo | Dallas, TX | 03/03/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)

"This is a great DVD and is certainly worth the money just for the story alone. However, I think calling this an IMAX movie is really stretching the truth. The first IMAX movie I saw and subsequntly purchased, was 'The Dream is Alive'. Although 'Hail Columbia' is no compairison in film and sound quality, the story it tells more than makes up for this and therefore it is a must have for anybody who loves the space shuttle program. Now if only the IMAX theaters would wake up and start showing the space series movies again!"