You’re James Cameron, the award-winning director responsible for such popular films as the first two Terminator movies, Aliens and True Lies. Your last film was the multi-award winning romantic epic, Titanic, which pulled in close to two billion dollars in ticket sales alone. What do you do for a follow up feature?
How about another film dealing with the legendary ocean liner?
While Ghosts Of The Abyss is that film, it is not another fictionalized tale of ill-fated lovers who picked the wrong ship to get their freak on. It is, however, a fascinating documentary covering the return trip that Cameron, actor Bill Paxton and a crew of Russian and American marine and historical experts took to visit the ocean liner once more back in 2001 (Cameron originally visited the wreck site when he was filming his 1997 film). Always attempting to push the technological envelope, Cameron had new 3-D cameras designed specifically to capture the events and to travel inside what is left of the ship to explore the wreck as it stands today.
With a running time one-third of Titanic, Ghosts Of The Abyss works as a nice supplemental piece to Cameron’s 1997 epic. The re-enactments of Titanic crewmembers and passengers in certain parts may have some experiencing dj vu, and Bill Paxton’s narration can be a bit much at times (a picture can be worth a thousand words, Bill). The haunting images of the Titanic, captured in gorgeous IMAX 3-D technology, are so spectacular that after a while you both forgive and forget those minor faults. In fact, the footage and the 3-D technology is so awesome that after a while, you forget that there are any people in the film at all.
That is, until the film reaches its emotional apex via an event in the film’s last twenty minutes. I won’t reveal what the event is but I can say is that in its own non-forced way, it adds another level of emotional impact to both the expedition and the film. Cameron has always been a director who has known how to properly mix larger-than-life spectacle with human drama (True Lies aside) and this film is no exception.
Ghosts Of The Abyss is truly a big-screen event. IMAX films have never been ones to experience at home (unless you happen to live in an IMAX theater), so don’t wait to see this film on DVD. Even if it isn’t a work of fiction, Ghosts of the Abyss is your typical James Cameron film – it dazzles the eye while occasionally touching the heart and soul.