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Straight Up: Helicopters in Action - Blu-ray / documentary DVD / IMAX DVD review
STRAIGHT UP: HELICOPTERS IN ACTION Not rated by the Motion Picture Association of America curledupdvd.com rating: 3 1/2 stars
Featuring: Martin Sheen, narrator
Director: David Douglas Studio: Cav Distribution
DVD release: 08 March 2011 Runtime: 84 min. (1 disc)
Format: Blu-ray, Color, Widescreen, Dolby
DVD features: 1080p HD, Aspect ratio 1.771, Audio tracks (Dolby Digital - English), Subtitles (English), Taking Off (behind-the-scenes featurette), Careers in Action, Director audio commentary, HD movie trailer

*Straight Up: Helicopters in Action* (IMAX) on Blu-ray*Straight Up is straight up-adventure of the vertical kind. This film glorifies helicopters and the people who pilot and work with them.

Produced by the National Air and Space Museum, Straight Up is wonderfully educational while also maintaining a thrilling, exploitative edge - call it copter porn. The movie was originally made for IMAX screens and, as director David Douglas says in the behind-the-scenes featurette, the helicopter point of view is perfect for really big images.

The standard jobs are here, of course: the medevac teams who whisk people to life-saving medical care via mountain-hopping chopper; drug interdiction; rescues at both sea and in mountains. We see helicopters delivering humanitarian aid and being used for research and relocation of endangered species.

But who would have thought that the folks who carry out repairs on the huge high-tension wires that carry electricity from dams in remote locations to the grid in the city are repaired by guys coming in on helicopters? Indeed, the lines aren't shut down for repair; the electricians work on live wires. To do this, the workers wear special Faraday cages -- stainless steel threads in the specially woven fabric used to make their clothes -- that allow zillions of volts to pass harmless over their bodies as they work. And they get to work sitting on the wheel strut of a helicopter. When the chopper gets to the stretch of high-power cable that needs repair, the worker scoots off the strut and into a harness hanging directly from the wires.

The behind-the-scenes film is also great. Any number of trade secrets are revealed as the filmmakers show how they got some of their shots and we learn the basics of flying helicopters. Point left, go left; this is good to know.
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reviewed by Brian Charles Clark
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