By Nazlia Peer.
Floating weightless under a myriad stars 160km above the Earth's surface
may seem like virtual reality for most.
But for the astronauts who clocked painstaking training hours in a Nasa
virtual reality laboratory, the thrill of space-walking - for real - was one
of the unique rewards for helping establish the International Space Station
The Imax 3D film, Space Station, filmed by astronauts and cosmonauts,
gives space-buffs a gravity-defying ride off to the ISS built by 16
countries and widely considered to be the greatest achievement of mankind in
space since Neil Armstrong walked on the moon.
Narrated by Tom CruiseFirst African in space Mark Shuttleworth snapped up
the screening rights. At its premiere on Tuesday, he made a brief appearance
in the opening frames.
His commander, Yuri Gidzenko, can be seen helping install the ISS
laboratory Shuttleworth will be conducting experiments in during his
The film, narrated by Tom Cruise, is a 3D visual spectacle, showing off
the explosive power of shuttle launches leaving behind towering monsters of
Theatre-bound humans sucked in by space fever can tour the cramped living
quarters and view the more comical effects of micro-gravity, capable of
transforming water into perfect globes suspended in the air to be vacuumed
up into the mouth of a thirsty crew member.
Before embarking on missions to the ISS crew, members complete rigorous
under water simulations in giant tanks in order to learn to work without the
pull of gravity.
No Hollywoodesque finale
Once in orbit, they can spend months enraptured in a capsule far away
from the comfort, familiarity and diverse environments of Earth.
Yet the slightly goofy characters with giant intellects appear to be in
their element, immersed in space and science.
Viewers accustomed to the special-effects bombarded upon them in sci-fi
genre movies could find the ending of Space Station alien - there is no
However, the film does offer real-life, balding, frizzy-haired and
generally unglamorous geniuses doing extraordinary work after having made
incredible personal sacrifices, when most of us get our galactic fix from
the Star Wars stable.
Space Station debunks the romance of the great out there and informs us
of the the talent and bravery of unpackaged heroes. Space Station opens
today. For more information call 021 419 7365 or visit
Review by kind permission of Cape Times - IOL