Ghosts Of The Abyss (2003)

<strong class="MovieTitle">Ghosts Of The Abyss</strong> (2003)

(On DVD, August 2004) Yes, James Cameron still hasn’t directed any feature-length fiction film since 1997’s Titanic. But if this is the kind of stuff he’s doing on his “holidays”, well, it’s just as good. In this documentary, we follow Cameron and his crew (including stalwart actor Bill Paxton) as they revisit the wreck of the Titanic in late 2001. Paxton makes a useful everyday character as he’s (justifiably) impressed by the whole proceeding: his doofus act as they take him to the wreck is a useful proxy for everyone in the audience. The technology used for this round of exploration is quite impressive, bringing movie-making savvy to underwater exploration, along with a full underwater lighting rig, 3D cameras (whose footage is sadly converted to 2D on the DVD) and remote-controlled ROVs. The exploration of the Titanic itself is cleverly augmented by CGI, overlays of live-action footage and interviews with experts. Hard-SF fans will squeal in glee at the appearance of Charles Pellegrino, author of several books on the Titanic, archaeology and other nifty stuff. It’s engrossing material, but becomes even more so when the tale evolves into a techno-thriller mode as one of the robots has to be rescued after technical difficulties. Fascinating stuff, though some knowledge and passion for the subject of the film is almost essential. Well worth tracking down.

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