One of the smallest and most ordinary of the IMAX films that I've seen, "Momentum" takes viewers across Canada's landscape, stopping at various points along the way to focus on some scenery. Beautiful? Sure. Interesting? Not particularly. That certainly isn't a statement against Canada, it's against the approach that the filmmakers have taken: there is no narration here to tell us anything about what's going on or what historical significance there is to what we're looking at. We get image after image of different landscapes, tied together with no apparent reasoning. "Adventures in Wild California" is an example of a similar IMAX feature that actually educated about the area and provided more striking visuals.
In other words, we're offered a Canadian version of "Koyaanisqatsi", only without the deeper meanings and Phillip Glass score. On the other hand, it's a little difficult to be tough on "Momentum", as it's an IMAX film that doesn't seem to have translated well at all from the stories-tall IMAX screen. Images of various buildings of importance, woodland creatures and people going down ski slopes (not exactly the kind of ambitious subject matter that most IMAX films show) may have been visually more involving - although I'm not sure how much - in an IMAX theater. At 20 minutes, the 10-year-old picture is also one of the shortest IMAX features that I'm aware of - it's over before it ever really begins or makes any impact.
VIDEO: Criticisms of the film itself aside, the image quality of Image Entertainment's release is quite beautiful. The picture remains crystal clear, with only a very fine layer of grain present. Sharpness and detail are excellent, while only a little bit of edge enhancement is seen. Colors are bright and vivid, with nice saturation and clarity.
SOUND: Although most recent IMAX fare offers remarkable 5.1 channel soundtracks, this 1992 feature is only offered in stereo. There's not a great deal to the soundtrack, with only occasional sound effects and a light, rather forgettable score. As previously noted, this IMAX feature differs from most in the way that there is no narration.
EXTRAS: A short, but detailed 6 1/2 minute "making of" featurette is offered.
Final Thoughts: "Momentum" is the rare IMAX film that I felt I really didn't get anything out of. Canada seems like an awfully nice place, but that's really nothing I didn't know already. Image's DVD edition offers a decent making-of, along with fine audio/video quality for the main feature. Still, with so many other, more interesting IMAX titles currently on DVD (Check out "Beavers", "Super Speedway", "Shackleton's Antarctic Adventure" or "Dolphins" from Image or titles like "Secret of Life on Earth" from Warner, for example), this one really isn't worth the time.