The Wonderful: Stories From The Space Station

In DVD/Blu-ray by Paula Hammond - Features Editor

In the last 18 months or so, we’ve all come to realise some painful truths about humanity—and that may have left many  reeling. The Wonderful could possibly be the pandemic panacea we’ve all been looking for.

Drawing on breathtaking archive images alongside interviews with astronauts, cosmonauts, colleagues and family, The Wonderful: Stories From The Space Station brings together personal testimonies from the men and women who have been part of an extraordinary project that represents the very best of us.

The International Space Station is completely unique–continuously occupied since November 2000, it’s not only a triumph of engineering but the largest peacetime international project in history. Assembled by space-walkers flying around the earth at 17,500 miles per hour, measuring the length of a football pitch, its solar arrays stretching out for more than an acre, the Station was work of 15 nations over 20 years. But the film is not about the 450 tonnes of silver spaceship orbiting earth. Instead, the focus is the men and women who live inside it and how their experience of the vast, beautiful, bottomless universe has changed their lives for the better.

The Wonderful is sometimes slow. Sometimes overly ponderous. Sometimes, you simply want to know more about the incredible people and achievements that the film touches on. But, for its faults as a piece of filmmaking, where The Wonderful wins is in the story it tells. Conceived and built in a spirit of cooperation, curiosity, and innovation, the International Space Station is an example of what humanity can achieve when we put aside our differences. Yes, The Wonderful reminds us of mankind’s vulnerability but also of our tenacity and our ability to look beyond ourselves and our petty needs to something bigger and better. And, while we continue to struggle with the fallout of a world turned on its head—that’s no small thing.