An entertaining IMAX feature, "Adrenaline Rush" takes a look at human reaction to a potentially risky situation, whether it be a child's first day at school or base jumping off a giant cliff. While all humans share the common reaction to danger of feeling that rush that focuses our senses, there are those out there who seek out that rush, trying to find bigger and better ways to experience that energy.
The picture opens discussing Leonardo da Vinci's idea to try to come up with the first human parachute, which he drew diagrams of, but never was able to test. The film also introduces us to a skydiving couple who have invented a "flight suit" that allows them to stay up longer, resulting in flight records. In the film, we see them (joined by a series of scientists) try to construct Da Vinci's parachute and successfully jump with it. Other scenes include a group of skydivers playing catch with a tennis ball in midair.
Interestingly, this is an IMAX feature that's got its weight shifted more towards showing remarkable sequences than education (although it varies, most IMAX films are around a 50/50 balance in terms of education/entertainment). The film does talk about the bodily reaction that people have in terms of facing risks like skydiving, but that section is fairly brief. "To The Limit" is an IMAX feature that offers a bit more balance with a similar subject - athletes and the reaction their bodies have to stress, etc.
While the film isn't too educational, it does have superb visuals, such as a series of skydiving scenes, as well as ones following base jumpers off cliffs. The final sequence, which follows a base jumper off a cliff - from their point of view - is an amazing moment (although admittedly, it was a bit more stunning on the large screen). Overall, I wish this documentary would have been a bit more substancial, but it is technically well-done and does offer some entertainment.
VIDEO: "Adrenaline Rush" is presented by Image Entertainment in 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen. The picture quality is very good, if not quite to the level of some IMAX features. Sharpness and detail are generally good, but the picture doesn't present fine details and the level of definition doesn't quite live up to some other large format films brought to the DVD format.
Although the film appeared slightly softer than expected during some scenes, there were no other concerns about picture quality. The print appeared to be in fine condition, no pixelation was seen and the image remained free of edge enhancement or other problems. The film's naturalistic color palette appeared to be accurately presented, with no smearing or other faults.
SOUND: "Adrenaline Rush" is presented by Image Entertainment in Dolby Digital and DTS 5.1. The film's soundtrack provides an exciting moment in the opening credits, as a sound wave spins from speaker-to-speaker around the listening space. After that, however, the sound mix turns somewhat more ordinary, with the action taking place mainly in the front speakers, with the surrounds reinforcing the score. There are some moments where the surrounds could have used sound to get into the head of the jumpers and provided a more enveloping experience (wind whipping around the viewer, etc), but the soundtrack never really achieves this. Still, while there are opportunities that were skipped here, the soundtrack gets the job done well enough.
EXTRAS: The DVD includes a 22-minute documentary that goes on-set to watch the production prepare to shoot some of the film's exciting sequences. We also hear from the filmmakers in several interview clips. The DVD also includes a 20-minute video of unseen aerial photography from the film (w/optional score), a text promo for an upcoming IMAX feature and a movie trivia quiz.
Final Thoughts: "Adrenaline Rush" offers some remarkable visuals and some information, but I wish it had been a bit more even mix of entertainment and education. Image Entertainment's DVD offers very good audio/video quality, as well as a couple of very good supplements. Recommended.