3D Sun/Mars 3D (2007/2004)
Reviewed by Dustin Putman
(Release Date: December 3, 2013) - Two documentary shortsthe first 23 minutes in length, the second 21are featured in the "Galactic Adventures" Double Feature Blu-ray. In the shadow of cosmic-focused material as enlightening and varied as what was seen on The History Channel series "The Universe," however, both "3D Sun" and "Mars 3D" come off as underwhelming afterthoughts. Those going in expecting to learn basic facts and information about their subject matter should look elsewhere. "3D Sun" mostly traverses the idea of heliophysics as NASA sends two STEREO spacecrafts into the cosmos to study solar storms and the connection between the sun and the earth as it pertains to the weather. In "Mars 3D," scientists seek to find if the environment on Mars was ever suitable for life. Both short films go by in a flash; don't be surprised if your reaction to the end credits is, "Is that really it?" Hard-hitting, this is not.
The 1080i digital transfer of "Galactic Adventures" isn't terrible, but it is underwhelming. A collection of various film sources, some clearly upconverted from standard-def video, gives "3D Sun" and "Mars 3D" uneven appearances. Talking-head interviews, happening in front of shoddy green screen, are soft to the point of fuzziness, while much of the actual grainy footage taken in space is littered with dirt and debris. Static and noise pop up on occasion, too, as does banding. The CG effects shots look noticeably better. Interesting to note, although "Mars 3D" is three years older than "3D Sun" (2004 vs. 2007), it seems to have been shot with slightly higher-grade equipment. Consequently, it looks a little better. Never, though, is the picture a stunner. Please note that both pictures can be viewed in either 2D or 3D. The lossless DTS-HD 5.1 Audio Master gets the job done, but mostly sticks to the front channels save for subtle ambient sound effects. The track is dialogue-heavy and doesn't get a chance to do much with its audio. At least it sounds clear.
Nothing, save for eight 3D trailers.
I love a good space-set documentary, but "Galactic Adventures: 3D Sun/Mars 3D" does't cut it, especially with so many superior programs and films out there. It is too short to become interminable, but it fails to inform or make much of a point at all. Seeing these in IMAX at a science museum is one thing, but they do not need to be seen on the Blu-ray format and have zero rewatch value. Regrettably, this Blu-ray release is not recommended.