Rated: G Reviewed by: Jim Release date: January 28, 2005 Released by: Walt Disney Pictures
James Cameron still has a depth charge to learn more by deep-ocean expeditions than making fictional features movies. The Titanic director is passionate again not for made-up Hollywood special f/x in using the concept of astro-biology in his underwater IMAX documentary Aliens of the Deep.
This time he collaborates with director Steven Quayle in giving many exhilarating visual highlights in 3D that works better than his more thematically sound Ghosts of the Abyss a couple of years back. Those who’ve seen Volcanoes of the Deep, executive produced by Cameron, might find quite a likeness to this energetic, fantastic voyage that links outer space and inner space.
The director is out not just with marine biologists, but with astro-biologists and space researchers to locate hydrothermal vents in the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans where strange sea life has evolved. Huge blood-red plumed worms, blind white crabs, exquisite strands of bacteria, and an amazing mass of white shrimp vie for positioning in ionized, superheated water. These predominantly crustacean life forms could be the closest thing to extraterrestrial on Earth.
Using the RCS (Reality Camera System) again, Cameron and his crew follow the water and these “extremophiles” on our planet may be similar to the undersea of Mars or on the ice moons of Jupiter, like Europa, which has an ocean twice the volume of all oceans on Earth. There are camera probes like “Jake,” also used in Ghosts of the Abyss, that help induce viewer reaction or awe to shrimp biomass swarms and Cameron arguably has more of a nerdy look in 3D. And though some of the ocean bed stuff hits some boring patches there are some scintillating unbelievable CGI shots to behold.
If Aliens of the Deep feels a little like the director’s cut of Cameron’s undervalued The Abyss and a trip to an alien world, perhaps his educational guide may be an inspiration for some to pursue a vocation like those on view, or to broaden their chosen field of expertise. Or maybe others will hasten to the nearest fish emporium with all the shrimp and crabs waved in front of them.
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