(movie review written in 2001)
Based on the novel by Daniel Boorstin, "Discoverers" is a 1993 IMAX picture that takes viewers through the path of discovery; the film proceeds through many different episodes, such as Magellan's journey and scientists analyzing data sent back from the exploration of a planet. The film is more geared towards educational matters than some of the films from the format, but it still manages to be entertaining, anyways.
The film is made up of a number of episodes which are fairly short, but I felt that the pieces were informative enough that the film could move on and leave them behind. There were a couple though, such as a group working to better understand Dolphins, that I wish could have gone on a little longer, as they were pretty fascinating to watch.
Like almost all IMAX films, the cinematography is stunning, and many scenes are absolutely beautiful to look at. The film follows its task and does it well; showing the audience the history of our desire to explore our world and beyond, and it does this in a convincing and entertaining manner. Certainly the best you can ask from the IMAX format - to bring us into new worlds, inform and entertain.
VIDEO: "Discoverers" is presented once again in 1.33:1 full-frame by Image Entertainment. This is a pleasant transfer, although it - as with the first DVD presentation of the movie - does suffer from some problems. Shimmering, on complex patterns in one scene and also in a couple of other moments, is somewhat of a bother. Light edge enhancement and some specks also appear on the print.
Sharpness mostly appears very good, although the film does not exhibit quite the level of definition that most IMAX films present on DVD. Some scenes can even appear slightly soft. On a positive note, colors look great, with terrific saturation, bright hues and no smearing.
AUDIO: "Discoverers" is presented by Image Entertainment in Dolby Digital and DTS 5.1. This is a moderately aggressive soundtrack by IMAX standards - not as surround-heavy as most, yet presenting some moments of creative use of the rear speakers on occasion. Voices are one of the elements occasionally presented by the surrounds, as are sound effects and the score. Audio quality was fine, as the drums in the score hit with a deep, solid rumble. Dialogue and sound effects seemed crisp and well-recorded.
"The Making Of Discoverers": The usual IMAX documentary (which are usually almost as long, if not sometimes longer than the film itself) is included here, and this one turns out to be just as interesting as most. I often wish that most documentaries for feature films that are included on DVDs would be this well-done and informative, taking the viewer directly into the process. We hear from the film's producers, who chat about the film's history and production in interviews. The nice part of the IMAX documentaries is that we also see many shots of the production at work, which give the viewer a better idea of what goes on in an IMAX set.
Shot on high definition video(as with many recent IMAX documentaries), "The Making Of Discoverers" is another successful documentary that makes the viewer feel as if they are there during the shooting, and the documentary is also very informative about what it took to bring this picture to the screen, with some excellent interviews.
Trailers: Trailers for "Dolphins", "Discoverers", "Magic Of Flight", "Stormchasers" and "The Living Sea"
Text Notes: Text notes about the director.
As with several other new IMAX re-releases/re-releases from IMAX, the big new supplement included in this 2-DVD set for "To The Limit" is the second DVD, which includes the film in WMV High Definition. This can only be played on a PC DVD-ROM drive. Requirements include Windows XP, 2.4GHZ processor,64MB video card,384MB of RAM and a 16-bit sound card.
Final Thoughts: I liked "Discoverers"; it's not among my favorite IMAX films, but I was entertained by the movie. The audio/video quality is not as spectacular as some other films in the format, but is enjoyable. The documentary is one of the more informative IMAX documentaries I've seen, as well. A light recommendation.