'Ghosts of the Abyss 3D' (Combo Pack)
(Bill Paxton, Miguel Wilkins, Federico Zambrano, Dale Ridge, Ken Marschall, et al / Blu ray+DVD / G / 2012 / Disney)
Overview: Even without its original 3-D IMAX presentation, James Cameron's Ghosts of the Abyss is still an eerily elegant tour of history's most infamous shipwreck. Six years after his original journey to the rusting hulk of the Titanic (where he captured footage for his 1997 blockbuster), Cameron returned to the wreckage with actor Bill Paxton, a team of Russian and American scientists, the world's most knowledgeable Titanic historians, and enough state-of-the-art technology to film the most complete and intimate exploration of the ill-fated ship's remains.
Blu ray+DVD Verdict: In the recent 'Titanic - Special Edition,' during the commentary James Cameron found that many of the sets and things designed for the deep sea exploring at the beginning looked "pretty darn accurate" to the real wreck. With this film we see just how close the actual ship resembles his recreated luxury liner. For those of you who loved the action stuff, look elsewhere. This is purely for people interested in the history and the sinking of the ship.
Bringing along long-time friend and frequent co-star (out of 5 films, he's only not in 2) Bill Paxton, James Cameron goes down to the infamous ship that crashed and sank in 1912: the Titanic. Using advanced robotic technology, they go farther into the wreck than previously shown, including statesrooms, the central staircase and the elevator. An odd bit of mishap happens and they must mount a rescue attempt of one of their beloved ROV (remote-operated vehicles) which just happens to coincide with another historical event.
One thing that plagues this film, as well as subsequent film Aliens of the Deep, is the people doing multiple variations on "that's awesome!". The images are striking enough, we don't need commentary on them and while acting wise he's capable, Bill Paxton is unfortunately not a good "host" for this event. Easily excitable and fidgety, he's, as he puts it, not used to this stuff.
For my money, Paxton's stuff is absolutely scripted. That works against the realism of this piece in general. The beauty of Dr. Robert Ballard's National Geographic piece about the Titanic is that was very very honest. It was human. Cameron's piece while having touches of honesty, has elements of scriptedness. Which doesn't play well with me. This shouldn't be a piece of fiction, let the real people speak.
And so, the inevitable question is, is it all worth it? Well, as expected, the photography is gorgeous, absolutely top-notch. And there's a certain feeling to seeing something that no one has seen for ninety years that you have to "feel" to believe. So yes, this is worth it. I just wish Uncle Bill had stayed at home, that's all! This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.78:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and comes with the Special Features of:
Original Theatrical Version: (60:44 minutes)
Extended Version with Unseen Footage (91:44 minutes)
1.78:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
THX-certified Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound
"Reflections From The Deep" - Look back on the challenges of creating this groundbreaking cinematic experience. Includes unseen footage from their risky dives to the ocean floor and revealing interviews with Director James Cameron, star Bill Paxton, and the entire crew.
"The ROV Experience" - An innovative multi-angle feature. Choose from different cameras as you dive to the floor of the ocean's floor, and ultimately see the grand staircase any way you want.