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Reviews » DVD Video Reviews » America's Hangar
America's Hangar
Smithsonian Networks // Unrated // March 17, 2009
List Price: $14.98 [Buy now and save at Amazon]
Review by Nick Hartel | posted April 14, 2009 | E-mail the Author
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C O N T E N T
V I D E O
A U D I O
E X T R A S
R E P L A Y
A D V I C E
Skip It
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P R I N T
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THE PROGRAM

"America's Hanger" is essentially an extended commercial for the National Air and Space Museum in Washington DC. Running around 45 minutes (the case reads approx. 60 minutes, which I feel is intentionally misleading), it provides the viewer with an extremely abridged history of the museum as well as the different collections featured there. The program begins with a brief history of manned flight and then starts chronologically with major pieces in the collection important to history (i.e. The Wright Flyer, Spirit of St. Louis, etc).

The major problem with this program is the short running time. It never has a chance to spend more than a few brief moments talking about a piece of the collection, nor portions of the museum itself. At the halfway mark, things get very interesting when they move from the actual museum to the Paul Garber Facility, where all of the museum's pieces come to be restored or worked on. Sadly, despite this segment being a bit more extended than others, it ends too quickly.

The program wraps up with the newest portion of the museum which houses exceptionally large pieces such as the Enterprise space shuttle and the SR-71 Blackbird. The program does, to its credit, do a an admirable job of giving a quick look at the museum and has definitely pushed this as a travel destination to the top of my list, but in terms of being more than a commercial, it fails. I see no replay value here for anyone.




THE DVD

The Video

Presented in Non-Anamorphic, 1.85:1 Widescreen, "America's Hanger" sports a transfer one might expect from a non-HD television documentary. The main program footage has an overall soft look, while some stock footage shows moderate artifacting. I realize this is not a feature film, but there is really no reason why any program released in 2009 should not be Anamorphic. That aside, overall, the transfer is slightly above average.

The Audio

"America's Hanger" is presented in both Dolby Digital 5.1 English and a 2.0 English track. The track is very low key, since the program is by-and-large interview driven. Audio is clear and crisp with no distortion, but the 5.1 track is honestly, overkill. English subtitles for the hearing impaired are included as well.

The Extras

None except for a short commercial for other Smithsonian Channel programs, accessible from the main menu.




Final Thoughts

While being a very successful, extended commercial, "America's Hanger" is a program that should have been left for TV airings only. The $15 price tag would be better spent putting towards a trip to the Smithsonian itself. If there were a longer program on the Paul Garber Facility on this disc, I could at least recommend a rental, but as it comes now, this isn't worth your time. Skip It.

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