NEW YORK — Director James Cameron continues to indulge his passion for underwater
exploration and his detour from feature filmmaking with this new Imax 3-D effort Less focused
thematically than its predecessor, the Titanic film “Ghosts of the Abyss,” “Aliens of the Deep” is
nonetheless a visually enthralling undersea travelogue that should do fine business in large-format
theaters and later on DVD.
Co-directed by Cameron and Steven Quale, the 47-minute feature depicts Cameron and a crew of
scientists as they explore the furthest reaches of the deep, where they encounter a wide variety of
photogenic sea creatures.
These range from the highly exotic to the relatively mundane, such as the giant mass of shrimp that
will no doubt incite a run toward seafood restaurants by audience members directly after the screening.
Cameron’s thesis here is that by exploring our own ocean depths, we can better anticipate the sorts
of surprises that may be awaiting us on other planets. And indeed, some of the ocean denizens on
display here, including 6-foot worms and a giant fish that may well be the ugliest creature on the
planet, seem beyond the reach of even the visual effects experts at ILM.
There’s an inevitably prosaic quality to the behind-the-scenes footage, capturing the interactions
among the naturally enthusiastic scientists and the ever pumped-up Cameron.
Even with its brief running time, the film lags at times and lacks the cohesiveness to lift it above its
many similarly themed brethren in the large-format catalog. And the finale, a fantastical encounter
between the scientists and a colony of imaginary sea creatures that recalls the climactic moments
of “Close Encounters,” is rather over the top.
Frank Scheck – Jan 28, 2005 This review was written for the theatrical release of “Aliens of the Deep.”