Ghosts of the Abyss

Despite over-ripe narration and an understandable urge to cram too much in, Ghosts of the Abyss is a thrilling documentary. Titanic director James Cameron goes 2.5 miles beneath the Atlantic to explore the sunken ship that took 1,500 lives, and emerges with something historic and eye-popping. How could it not be, since Cameron filmed the expedition in digital 3-D for IMAX screens.

earing 3-D glasses for the film's one-hour length is a small price to pay for the reach-out-and-touch experience. Cameron had used footage of the real ship in his Oscar-winning 1997 film, but the technology didn't exist at the time for cameras to go deep into the ship.

t does now. Once Cameron, along with scientists, historians and Titanic actor Bill Paxton, descended in subs, two small, mobile cameras — nicknamed Jake and Elwood — were sent out to explore. Designed by Mike Cameron, the director's brother, the cameras — operated by remote and connected to the subs by fiber-optic cable — pick up images that will take your breath away. Cameron uses photos, bios, even dramatic re-creations. Too much? Maybe. But the ghost of the great ship that went down in 1912 will haunt your dreams.

From The Archives Issue 296: July 26, 1979
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