There are few things I dislike more in modern moviegoing than the 3D IMAX glasses. While few seem to agree with me, I find these bulky glasses irritating and often unnecessary, as most of the 3D pictures make little use of the format beyond throwing out random images towards the audience. Beyond that, the cinematography in most IMAX productions is so stunning that the images are often more pleasing without any gimmicks in the way.
"Space Station", on the other hand, opens with a sequence so stunning that that one scene made the 3D aspect of the film entirely worthwhile. The opening, an utterly dizzying sequence where an astronaut is trying to climb the space station, gives the viewer that remarkable feeling of being there, looking down into the abyss.
Narrated wonderfully in smirky and genuinely energetic fashion by Tom Cruise, the IMAX feature takes viewers up into the International Space Station to experience life with the American and Russian astronauts, who - when not goofing off - must conduct experiments to research how humans are effected by space, among other things.
Director Toni Meyers is certainly no stranger to large-format adventures in space. Meyers has previously edited nearly all of the major large-format space pictures, including "Destiny In Space", "Blue Planet, "The Dream is Alive" and "Hail Columbia!". She produced "Mission to Mir" and narrated "Blue Planet".
Meyers, who also recieves screenwriting credit, spends a fine mixture of time covering information about the mission of the astronauts, providing spectacular imagery and offering a moving and inspiring discussion of how all of these people from different countries have come together to work and discover the universe. Even with a rather quick 47 minute running time, the film achieves a fine balance of imagery (there are several unforgettable moments aside from the opening space walk, which I won't ruin here) and education.
"Space Station" is one of the finest IMAX features I've seen in a long while. While there was a period in recent years where the format was used largely for hokey fictional tales (see the dismal "T-REX"), several new IMAX offerings have thankfully been more concerned with educating the audience and providing a more high-quality and involving experience for the high price of an IMAX ticket. When boy band musicians are paying millions of dollars for the experience, "Space Station" offers about as immersive a space experience as one can get without leaving the ground.
Note: On another space note, Ron Howard's "Apollo 13" hits IMAX theaters with a special large-format edition of the film early this Fall.