Video Review

The Voyager Odyssey: 1977-1989 (1990)

EW's GRADE
A+

Details Genre: Documentary

The Voyager Odyssey defies every cliché of space-travel features and documentaries, combining leading-edge computer animation and digital special effects with NASA photography to create a gorgeous, breathtaking, and, , ultimately, grandly inspirational 44-minute experience. It charts the Voyager missions from Jupiter to Saturn to Uranus and gracefully transforms standard space film of indistinct celestial bodies into an intimate look at lunar landscapes, gaseous rings, exploding volcanos, huge whirling hurricanes, and other cosmic wonders.

The Voyagers left Earth in 1977. Now, almost 5,000 days and four billion miles later, the twin scientific spacecraft are still travelling, deep in the outer solar system — ''full citizens of the Milky Way,'' in the words of this remarkable documentary, directed by Don Barrett.

There is no narration, only a few pithy titles and an orchestral soundtrack that includes the by-now standard Also sprach Zarathustra, along with less familiar works by Ralph Vaughan Williams and Franz Liszt. In fact, Voyager is as stunning for its audio quality as for its video excellence, having been recorded digitally and transferred to video in Hi-Fi stereo and Dolby Surround, which is like having a full symphony hiding under your couch. A+

Originally posted Dec 21, 1990 Published in issue #45 Dec 21, 1990 Order article reprints