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“Dream Big: Engineering Our World” Inspires on many levels

Updated: Jul 19, 2018


The filmmakers used the 300 pound 3-D IMAX camera to capture Burj Khalifa, the needle-shaped super scraper - the world's tallest - that takes center stage in thriving downtown Dubai. (4K frame shots courtesy of Shout! Factory)


4K Ultra HD, 3D, Blu-ray, DVD, Digital HD copy; 2017; Not Rated; streaming on Netflix

Best extra: Four part “Behind-The-Scenes Videos” making-of

WELCOME to career day IMAX style courtesy of MacGillivray Freeman Films and SHOUT! Factory.

“‘Dream Big’ is about the joy and challenge of being an engineer,” Director Greg MacGillivray says in the four-part “Behind-The-Scenes Videos” making-of, one of three bonus features on Shout’s presentation.

Sponsored by the American Society of Civil Engineers, the 42-minute film shows what engineers do: Design storm and earthquake resistant buildings; create vessels for underwater exploration; build bridges and roads; design amazing roller coasters and robots.

From space stations to bridges, vehicles, roads and more, engineers create and implement the tools that take us through all daily routines.

The Golden Gate Bridge provides a vertigo moment.

Narrated by Jeff Bridges, “Dream Big” explores how engineers have aided humanity in the past and present, as well as their goals for the future. In Scotland, there’s the Falkirk Wheel; a hyperloop test in Las Vegas; and the Great Wall of China, where sticky rice added to mortar gave even poorly built sections enough elasticity to survive eons. Then there’s the spiraling Shanghai Tower engineered to help house Shanghai’s massive population, its 128 floors make it one of the tallest buildings in the world (2,073 feet).

“The key with engineering today is not math and physics; it’s imagination.” – Greg MacGillivray, director.

Three young women assist viewers by sharing their personal stories. Civil Engineer Avery Bang, who was always interested in construction, works for Bridges to Prosperity. The United States-based nonprofit works with local governments, creating lifelines between rural areas via pedestrian bridges. Mechanical Engineer Angelica Hernandez, whose father was a mechanic, came by her engineering curiosity naturally. She arrived in the U.S. at 9, an illegal immigrant from Mexico, with her single mother. Her love for mechanics increased when she became a member of her high school robotics club. She joined ROTC and graduated as class valedictorian.

Civil Engineer Menzer Pehlivan

Civil Engineer Menzer Pehlivan wanted to be an actress. At 13, her plans changed after an earthquake destroyed her home in Turkey. Thousands were injured and over 1,000 people killed. “From that moment on, I knew what I wanted to do,” she says. She became a professional engineer in Seattle, “hoping to make structures safer during earthquakes.” She also teaches.

All three faced hardships, being told engineering was for men only. They did not let that get in their way.


Vertigo moments abound in an exceptionally detailed and colorful release. Shout’s presentation is in Ultra-HD sourced from the 15-perf 65mm film stock and mastered in 4K and maybe higher, with the 3D version attached to the Blu-ray. The colors are stunning in city, desert, jungle and underwater scenes. Filmed in IMAX for 3D, depth is natural with no distortion.

The 4K disc provides two options for viewing: HDR for richer colors and expanded contrast levels with deeper blacks and brighter highlights; Non-HDR if your 4K setup is minus HDR and you still want to enjoy the superior 4K clarity.

When Civil Engineer Avery Bang saw how children in Haiti had to cross a river by foot to get to school, it was an "Ah-ha moment." A footbridge was built for them via U.S. based Bridges to Prosperity.

Construction of the footbridge.

Students celebrate the opening of the bridge.


Sound is available in six-channel Dolby Atmos and in DTS-HD Master Audio tracks. Vocals are clearly delivered, with lifelike effects from construction and environmental sources. John Jennings Boyd composed the music.


Bonus features are found on the 4K Ultra HD and Blu-ray. There are three multi-part bonus features. “Hot Topics in the World of Engineering” includes “Who’s in the Driver’s Seat: Autonomous Vehicles,” “Virtual Modeling: Engineering the Future,” “Lean and Green: Alternative Energy,” “High-Tech Engineering” and “Engineering for Those in Need.”

The “Behind-the-Scenes” extra shows how “Dream Big” came together in a “Dream Big Featurette,” “Meet the Women Engineers of Dream Big,” “Filming the Great Wall of China,” and “Behind the Scenes of the Hyperloop.”

Five “Short Fun Packed Videos” highlight “How Kids Engineer a Bridge,” “Behind the Great Wall of China,” “A Hand-Built Bridge in Haiti,” “Engineering Roller Coasters,” and “Filming with the IMAX 3D Camera.”

It’s easy to take engineers and engineering for granted. We use their creations throughout every day. “Dream Big” is a great reminder of their work – and an inspiration.

Kay Reynolds

The Falcon Robotics Team from Carl Hayden High School in Phoenix, head to the annual Marine Advanced Technology Remotely Operated Vehicle competition in Santa Barbara, California.

The students engineered a remote-control robot they named "Stinky" with just $800 worth of parts, mainly PVC pipes equipped with a processor, propellers, depth detectors, an underwater microphone and a very sensitive pincer.

Four Mexican immigrant students from Phoenix, bet MIT students with their underwater transport, "Stinky." Mechanical Engineer Angelica Hernandez was also part of the team, but had to remain behind because of her ROTC obligations.


The Ivanpah solar electric generating system in San Bernardino County, California.

Fireworks on a rainy night over the Shanghai skyline.

Construction of the Longjiang Bridge in China.




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