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3.0 out of 5 stars A small mistake,
This review is from: Aliens Of The Deep (DVD)This production's title is a bit misleading. It turns out that the "Aliens" are invaders in the Deep, not denizens "of" it. The "aliens" are the descendants of African primates, and we see their actions, their wishes and their responses to what they find at the depths. Although the film does give us glimpses of the sea bottom, the mysterious "black smokers" and the inhabitants associated with them, most of the footage is of the researchers, the support team and, of course, "Jim" Cameron. While scientists and their work need more recognition, the many shots of them peering through portholes, communicating on almost indecipherable squawk boxes and squirming about in confined diving vehicles doesn't give us much of "the Deep".
After some initial preparation activities, including stripping the side from one of the ships, the probes are launched. Two hours descent is compressed into twenty seconds, but the sea floor, over 800 metres down is reached. There's a great deal of interprobe conversation and both internal and outside shots of the vehicles. Cameron's budget extended to five probes altogether, giving him every possibility for film-making. Wisely, he chose both international and interdiscipline characters, with a mix of Russian, US, geophysicists and astrobiologists. The film buff will recognise none but Cameron, but it's hoped the research community will pick out familiar names. Personal accounts abound, but one has to wonder at somebody blocking a viewport with a baby's photograph.
As a producer, Cameron has a sense of lighting and filming scenes, and some of these are little short of stunning. Sea life at depth is sparse, but "something nobody's ever seen" is likely to appear. One, a form of jellyfish, brings the predictable gasps of awe, and with good reason. It's indeed a bizarre creature with possibly a lengthy history. The scarcity of life suddenly turns abundant as the divers approach a "black smoker". Cameron's lighting talents come to the fore as one vehicle lights the chimney from behind while another films the discharge in glorious close-up. It may be "Hollywood lighting", but the resulting image seems worth it.
Through it all, one has to wonder if the researchers entertained thoughts of how it was that James Cameron had one robot and four manned dive vessels when their chance at but one means scheduling and a queue. Preparation and its problems are not minor aspects of deep ocean research, but how much of it's necessary for a commercial film? More to the point, although the scientists struggled to impart that the sea is 70% of the Earth's living space, the science behind Cameron's effort remains subdued. It's true that studying how to do tasks at the bottom of the sea will aid in exploring other planets in the search for ET life. But there is much to be learned about life itself at depth - a topic remains little explored.
Finally, the question remains whether an IMAX film truly can be brought to the home screen. Only those who have seen this in both formats can judge. If you want to see a realm new to surface eyes, this film may be an interesting starting point. Don't stop here. If this film doesn't prompt you to go on to find a real film on the ecosystem of three-quarters of the world, it has failed in its task. [stephen a. haines - Ottawa, Canada]
1.0 out of 5 stars Boring!!!,
This review is from: Aliens Of The Deep (DVD)This was more about the people involved in the shoot than about deep sea creatures. A total snoozefest.
3.0 out of 5 stars James Cameron and co probe the depths of the Ocean for strange exotic creatures,
This review is from: Aliens Of The Deep (DVD)wow.this is a truly beautiful piece of work.it is a documentary By
James Cameron.Cameron and his crew basically explore the depth of the
ocean,looking g for clues to life in outer space.they meet some very
beautiful creature on their journey an some very strange ones.the movie
is beautifully photographed,giving the viewer an astounding look at
life under the sea.it is a slow moving film at times,ad veers off into
talking about the people involved and other projects they are working
on.i don't mean to be callous.i believe the people involved should
certainly be introduced to the viewer,as all involved make a worthy
contribution to the film.However,in a film such as this,the focus
should be more on the creatures found,than the human beings.This movie
sometimes plays like a National Geographic film,many of which also
suffer from the same flaw.that said, this is very watchable film.just
have your hand on the fast forward button. 3/5
3.0 out of 5 stars Not nearly as much ocean bottom footage as you'd expect,
This review is from: Aliens Of The Deep (DVD)This documentary is not nearly as good as it should have been. Before I even get to the film, I have to say I have a problem with the title. Yes, I understand that the creatures at the bottom of the ocean (few of which we actually get to see here, incidentally) are so different that they appear "alien," but the denizens of the ocean's depths are about the last creatures on planet Earth I would refer to as alien. I think the title is actually a tip-off to what this documentary really is at its heart: James Cameron's pitch to be the first explorer of the oceans possibly existing on truly alien worlds. This whole thing (and I should note that I'm talking about the 95-minute version) is more about speculations concerning alien worlds than it is about our own ocean's depths. In a sense, the methods and means of studying life miles below the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans is akin to the exploration of alien oceans, but Cameron and his gang really stretch the point here. I'm sorry, but a month aboard an ocean vessel is not quite the same as a trip to Mars or the moons of Jupiter, no matter what one young scientist says. Every time we actually get to go back beneath our oceans, the documentary is soon hijacked by hypothetical comparisons to the exploration of alien worlds. By the end, some of that speculation really sounds scripted. I for one hope that bona fide scientists, rather than a rich and daring enthusiast like Cameron and a stable of giggling grad students, oversee those alien missions if and when they take place.
This film simply forgets what it is supposed to be about on several occasions. The scientists who went along for the ride, mostly young people from astrophysical as well as geological and oceanographic disciplines, just aren't that interesting, and they often sound more like tourists than scientists when they travel down to the ocean's depths. Certainly, anyone would be blown away by the sights down there, but statements such as awesome, what is that?, and "Holy pancakes, Batman" just aren't very informative in my book. The film makes another mistake, I believe, by not better identifying the locations of each dive in any way that is meaningful to non-geologists. Unless you are familiar with the names of undersea areas, you won't have much of an inkling where in the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans these dives took place. Give Joe Viewer a little more context, if you please.
I think it's rather obvious that most potential viewers want to see strange-looking creatures they've never seen before. You'll see a few early on (including a fish with two front feet), and you'd better revel in it while you can because most of the footage consists of hydrothermal vents and their unique ecosystems. It's fascinating, yes, but all we did in the second half of the film (when we actually found our way back underwater) was jump from one hydrothermal vent to another.
The main problem with this film is the limited amount of time we actually get to spend exploring the ocean's depths. Far too much time is taken up getting to know the explorers and hearing their speculations on life on other planets. I would have to say that less than half of this film's time is spent beneath the waves - I for one wanted much more than that, since that is what the documentary was supposed to be about.
1.0 out of 5 stars Where are the Aliens?,
This review is from: Aliens Of The Deep (DVD)This movie is terrible! If you are looking for a movie to play in an already mondain setting, like lets say school, in a career councilling class, then you've found the right movie. This movie introduces in unneccassary detail ALL the different types of scientist who are making the dives. Nobody cares! Then once they finally make a dive, you see a couple of blurry images of life, and they all have no idea what kind of life were looking at.
I was excited to see a big budget go towards deep sea research - but they aren't researching anything! It was wasted on shots of american flags, nasa logos and technology. Why call it aliens of the deep if you don't even go in the water???? I didn't spend 30 bucks to learn a scientist life story, I spent it to be captivated by wonder and feel like I was let in on a new discovery. Terrible, just competely and utterly dissapointed. Not what you think it is, AT ALL.
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Aliens Of The Deep by James Cameron & Steven Quale (DVD - 2005)
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