James Cameron cannot stay out of the water. Eight years removed from his success with Titanic, he still prefers making movies better shown in science classes than widescreen showcase cinemas, and it might be a while longer before he gets waterlogged and returns to Hollywood.
- Two versions of the film
Aliens of the Deep picks up where he left off touring the remains of the Titanic in Ghosts of the Abyss (ever notice the titles of his documentaries share the same word form his theatrical efforts?) by looking for life in the ocean’s most inhospitable settings. Small organisms have been found 3,000 feet below the ocean surface where no sunlight can reach them, so this has given hope for scientists searching for life on other worlds.
The movie seems to emphasize this more than it wants to explore the ocean, and many members of the team that accompanies Cameron are NASA astrobiologists as well as marine biologists and geologists. They are all using the oceans as a springboard to explore outer space.
While the picture and sound are simply stunning, it makes us wish we could spend more time underwater looking at these new life forms than sitting in on the debates of life elsewhere in the universe. Cameron is clearly the biggest personality of the mission, and he wastes no time asserting himself on his hunger for exploration. This overshadows the rest of the crew, who are reduced to predictable lines such as “expect the unexpected.”
The extended version, twice as long as the theatrical, does not spend that much more time underwater. Instead we are treated to Cameron using his technical expertise to solve a mechanical problem, which does nothing but create more unnecessary drama, and animated clips detailing missions to Mars, which should be left for another movie.