Media

Home Theater Movie Renter's Guide - October, 2012

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"Ghosts of the Abyss" (Blu-ray) - Reviewed by Jim Clements

movie-september-2012-ghosts-of-the-abyss

Synopsis

In this feature-length dcudrama, James Cameron leads an expedition to explore the wrecked remains of the Titanic.  Actor Bill Paxton and a team of marine experts are along for the adventure.  Shot expressly for playback in IMAX 3D thetares, the team uses manned submersible crafts and remote-controlled robots to explore all around and through the ship wreck.  Many of the cameras and the bots used in the production were developed expressly for this movie.  Of course, it is shot and presented in 3D so viewers can experience the ship as if they were on the scene with the exploration team.  This film was produced as a follow up and companion piece to Cameron's 1997 masterpiece "Titanic".

Specifications

  • Disney
  • 2003, Color, Rated G, 0 Hr 59 mins
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • 1080p
  • Codec: MVC
  • English, DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1
  • Starring:  Bill Paxton, Lori Johnston and James Cameron
  • Directed by James Cameron
Rating
  • Entertainment:
  • Video:
  • Audio:
  • Extras:
  • Violence: No
  • Sex: No
  • Language: No

Commentary

James Cameron is full of a child-like enthusiasm over the Titanic, her story and the shipwreck.  He tries valiantly to transcribe this emotion onto the audience.  And this worked for the better part of the show, but I fought back boredom down the stretch when watching the extended version.  I  personally can't sustain active interest in looking at all that old stuff on the bottom of the ocean.  The fascination of seeing a man-made object that had not been touched by the hands of man for almost a hundred years just didn't hold up for 90 minutes.  But the 3D theatrical version is just under a 1 hour running time.  This version flowed better and was ultimately more satisfying, particularly when viewed in 3D.  I also enjoyed how the overlays from the movie and archived pictures brought the wreck to life.  

Technical

The video has excellent depth of field in outdoor shots, especially at the beginning of the main feature while the 3D version shows limited crosstalk throughout.  The underwater scenes were highly variable with a muted palette (artificial light) and grainy (not enough artificial light).  Added edge enhancement shows up rather persistently.  The audio has a crafty use of surrounds that offers an immersive, you-are-there effect.  There is decent bass in the music track as well. Lest we forget, this is a documentary and so the voices are most important.  The disc has fine voice reproduction.

Extras

This is a three-disc pack with the 3D Blu-ray, a 2D Blu-ray and a DVD.  Extras include an Extended Release with an additional 30 minute playing time (2D disc only) and "Reflections from the Deep" (a documentary about a documentary) (2D disc only).