Originally presented on IMAX screens in 2006, ROVING MARS received excellent reviews for its captivating
account of the 2003 Mars Rover mission in which two robots—named Spirit and Opportunity—were sent to
explore the red planet. The documentary begins with the development of the machines by a team of dedicated
scientists and chronicles the project through to the stunning images of Mars sent back from the unmanned
explorers.ROVING MARS won the 2007 Visual Effects Society Award for Outstanding Visual Effects in a Special Venue
Project and is directed by award winning veteran documentarian George Butler, who is also responsible for
1977’s “Pumping Iron” and “The Endurance” (2000).
Roving Mars is another well-done IMAX film. The film seemlessly melds real footage of the Mars Rovers from their development on Earth with special effects footage recreating the Rovers journey to and exploration of Mars. At least half of the film actually chronicles just getting the Rovers built and off to Mars. The film treats its material with respect, but is not overdone. Thanks to the fact that the Rovers have not yet broken down and have gone well beyond their planned life expectancy, the film has a somewhat open-ended finish. As with most IMAX films, the biggest (and only) disappointment is the length. The film comes in just over three quarters of an hour and left us wanting to see more.
Fortunately, the DVD has a couple of extras to add to the length. The second featurette, Mars: Past, Present & Future, is pretty short and gives a few personal insights. The first featurette, Mars and Beyond, is quite long and actually has more material than just the 1957 special. The featurette is part cartoon, but also has some detailed scientific background information on Mars and the solar system. The two featurettes add at least another forty-five minutes of content over the Roving Mars film.
Roving Mars DVD Extras:
— Mars and Beyond - Walt Disney hosts this 1957 television special
— Mars: Past, Present & Future -
Personal reflections on Mars from the filmmakers and JPL Rover team members. Buy the Roving Mars DVD Now!