"All our critics praise this film for its strong story (fact based) and its
sense of period (50s middle America) and its effective performances. It is a film with a
great visual menu of coalmining town and big open spaces, dark interiors and half-lit
faces - so the visual quality of it on the small screen does matter. Welcome to the DVD.
This is where the digital revoultion shows its paces, easily handling the underlit scenes
and retaining the gentle contrasts which make film making so pleasurable: it can be
'painting with light' as much as any impressionist's canvas. (Well, almost…) As for
the so called bonus materials, there is a modicum. The best part is the 9:30 minute
Spotlight on Location, which is in fact a short Making Of, with actors, director and
producer giving interview grabs. If you're observant (and now I've told you it doesn't
count) you'll see the slates are marked up The Rocket Boys, presumably the original title.
No-one talks about it, but I think they did well to change it to October Sky. Best of all,
it is narrated by the real Homer Hickham (now an engineer at NASA), who we also get to
meet, his short cropped grey hair a surprise after seeing young Jake Gyllenhaal's
characterisation as a teenager with dark brown hair. The rest of the extras are text
based, except the trailer. The music of Mark Isham seems to stand out on the DVD, but
perhaps that's just the result of a pristine recording."
Andrew L. Urban
We gratefully acknowledge the complimentary use of a DVD player from Philips.