IMAX: The Dream is Alive (DVD)

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The best of the initial series of "made in space" IMAX films, The Dream Is Alive is a wonderful introduction to space travel for young and old alike. The national shuttle program was only four years old when this 35-minute documentary was released in 1985, and the film emphasizes the differences between the shuttle and conventional rockets. The opening shot of a shuttle returning to the Earth like a plane is an unmistakable difference. We follow two flight crews through training, rehearsals, and (mostly) the flight. The crystal-clear images of Earth do not have the same impact that they do in a large-format IMAX theater, but they are still a wonder to behold, especially with the effective narration by Walter Cronkite--for many the voice of America's heyday in space. Director Graeme Ferguson keeps the film streamlined and never preachy.

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