Living Universe is a documentary with a science-fiction spin. The film is centred round a fictional space ship controlled by Artemus, an Artificial Intelligence System. Set hundreds of years in the future, the film combines our current scientific knowledge with some clever visual effects to answer the question: Are we alone in the universe?
Narrated by Karl Kruszelnicki AM, we take a look at current technologies in space exploration and the search for exo-planets. An exo-planet is one that is similar to our very own Earth, a planet that can sustain life.
The documentary sections of the film discuss the progress of research in the exploration of our Universe. We hear from NASA Engineers, astrophysicists, astronomers and other experts whom talk about the first missions into space with the Mars Rover to then discussing the newest Kepler Space Telescope that is taking 360 degree images of our night sky in search of more exo-planets.
The science-fiction part of the film sees Artemus, voiced by Professor Tamara Davis, take us on a journey into the far reaches of our galaxy. Its mission is to visit an exo-planet, Minerva B, and explore it for the possibilities of life.
The film is interesting in the way it mixes science fact, with science fiction. However I found myself wanting to hear more from the experts in the film rather than watching a computer generated ship fly into space. I honestly found the Artemus sections of the film rather dull. The film as a whole is longer that most documentaries and could have been shorter.
As the screening I attended had a Q&A after the film, I found myself enjoying the Q&A more than I did the film itself. We got to hear from Professor Tamara Davis, astrophysicist Jessica Bloom and the amazing Dr Karl Kruszelnicki. I always love listening to Dr Karl ramble on about science. This was a real treat.
Living Universe is currently showing at IMAX Melbourne in a strictly limited season. Even though I didn’t enjoy it as much I would have hoped, I love all things space and I am still glad I got the chance to see it. If you love space too, try get to a session!