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Progressive Rock DVD/Video Reviews

Mike Oldfield

The Space Movie DVD

Review by Gary Hill

This movie is a questionable inclusion at Music Street Journal. On the surface, it doesn’t qualify as music related. It’s essentially a documentary about space travel – at least that’s the official description. The truth is, this film shares a lot with Koyaanisqatsi in that both films essentially represent video imagery set to music. That, in my view, qualifies this as a long form music video. There is also a bit of a indulgence that we had to do to list this. The music on the film is by Mike Oldfield. Since MSJ is organized by music artist, we therefore have to list it under his name. This is not entirely accurate as it is technically a Tony Palmer film that features the music of Mike Oldfield. Now that all of this is out of the way, let’s discuss the DVD.

Combining stock footage, some of which features communications from the spacecraft, ground control, and even John F. Kennedy announcing the beginning of the manned space program, from Nasa footage. All, as mentioned above is set to a soundtrack by Mike Oldfield. Much of this music is unreleased, meaning this is a must have for Oldfield fans. The film is a stirring and beautiful ode to man’s journey into the cosmos. This is beautiful and powerful, but not without its shortcomings. Of course, the shortcomings all come from the technical side, rather than the artistic side.

First off all, since the video comes from the Apollo era, it is old and therefore has the standard imperfections you would expect from archival footage of the era. Secondly, the audio track is not the best in the world. In that I mean, not in terms of the music, which is top notch, but the mastering. While the video issues are understandable, I just don’t get why they didn’t remaster the audio portion bringing it up to modern standards (this film is from 1979) before releasing it in DVD format. If they had done that, this would be a nearly perfect film. As it is, it’s very good, but could be better. Fans of space exploration will want to pick up this tribute. So will those devoted to Oldfield’s music. If you like the film Koyaanisqatsi, I would also highly recommend this to you.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2007 Volume 5 at
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