Ghosts of the Abyss

on April 11, 2003 by Tim Cogshell
The IMAX format is always striking. The scale of the presentation, especially when the subject matter warrants the treatment--the overland shots of "Into The Deep," and the scenes of Earth from space in "Mission to Mir" come to mind--can be overwhelming. Director James Cameron not only filmed his titanic adventure documentary, "Ghosts of the Abyss," in the 70mm Imax format, he filmed it in 3-D. You've got to wear the glasses and everything.

While it would be easy to reduce Cameron's never-ending obsession with all things Titanic to something of a gimmick, it wouldn't be fair. The 60-minute Imax movie follows Cameron, actor and frequent collaborator Bill Paxton ("Titanic,” “True Lies,” “Terminator,” “Aliens”) and a team of deep-sea and Titanic experts back to the site of the sunken vessel. Using an array of high-tech capabilities, the intrepid director travels 12,000 feet to the bottom of the North Atlantic to explore what remains of the once spectacular ship. And it's pretty darn cool. The history and anecdotes are still poignant--leave to Cameron, a master showman, to actually cull one more bit of drama and pathos from this insanely overexposed subject.

"Ghosts of the Abyss" can be too jokey and often outright silly with an overwrought sense of drama. But it's fascinating, especially in 3-D. Starring Lewis Abernathy, Dr Lori Johnston, Don Lynch, Ken Marschall, Bill Paxton, Charles Pellegrino and Tava Smiley. Directed by James Cameron. Produced by Chuck Comisky, Gig Rackauskas, Janace Tashjian and James Cameron. A Buena Vista release. Large-Format/3-D/Documentary/Adventure. Rated G. Running time: 59 min

Tags: Lewis Abernathy, Dr. Lori Johnston, Don Lynch, Ken Marshall, Bill Paxton, Charles Pellegrino, Tava Smiley, Director James Cameron, Producer Chuck Comisky, Gig Rackauskas, Janace Tashjian, James Cameron, Buena Vista, Documentary, Titanic, North Atlantic, 12, 000 feet

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