In the follow-up to his Academy Award winning movie “Titanic,” director James Cameron returns to the wreck of the R.M.S. Titanic, two and a half miles under the Atlantic Ocean. Using state of the art underwater 3D IMAX cinematographic technology, the remains of the Titanic come to life in “Ghosts of the Abyss.”

The movie is an unscripted documentary of an expedition to revisit the final resting place of the Titanic. Miniature remotely operated vehicles – ROVs – allow the theatergoer to explore deep inside the ship in a way never before possible.

While “Titanic” has gained mixed reviews for its unlikely love story, “Ghosts of the Abyss” produces a purely factual account of the Titanic’s final moments. Ghostly images of passengers and crew aboard the doomed vessel are superimposed on the wreckage to show the real stories of humanity that played out aboard the ship. Specific cabins, like that of the infamous “Unsinkable” Molly Brown and the ship’s Captain E.J. Smith are explored for a more personal touch. As these dramas play out on screen, Titanic historians narrate the story of the Titanic’s demise.

Like most 3D IMAX movies, the visual experience is spectacular. You feel as though you are right there and could reach out and grab the objects on screen. You are in the submarine with the crew. You are looking out the portholes with them – you are there.

The movie is advertised as 3D IMAX, however, saying the entire movie is in large screen 3D is a bit misleading. When the views from the ROVs were shown, they were in a kind of picture-in-picture style, taking up only a small portion of the screen. It was, nevertheless, done very well and did not detract from the movie.

Throughout “Ghosts of the Abyss,” an excellent musical score acts as a backdrop for the performance on screen. The score is very similar to that of “Titanic.” In fact, at some points, you would swear that they just reused parts of the Titanic soundtrack. However, you really can’t argue that haunting Irish flute music doesn’t suit the film.

You might have expected for the score to again be composed by James Horner, the composer of the original soundtrack, but you’d be wrong. Joel McNeely – a graduate from the Eastman School of Music – composed the new soundtrack for this movie. He did an outstanding job of creating a score that blends seamlessly with the rest of the movie.

Even if you thought the plot of “Titanic” was a bit cheesy, you need to see “Ghosts of the Abyss” before you judge Cameron’s ability to create an excellent movie about the fated ship. It’s a historically accurate documentary, yet it still manages to capture true stories of humanity that seem possible only in the movies.

All in all, when you mix 3D IMAX technology and something as historically significant as the wreck of the Titanic, you’re sure to get a winner.

Sprite can be reached at rsprite@campustimes.org.



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