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Titanic 3D: Ghosts of the Abyss

Made back in 2003, Titanic 3D: Ghosts of the Abyss may be a timely re-release to cash in on James Cameron’s latest film, but such cynicism is best set aside. Instead just go and marvel at this spectacular piece of visual history.
By Alice Tynan
February 20, 2011
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By Alice Tynan
February 20, 2011
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If Celine Dion was enough to ruin the memory of the Titanic for life, then it’s about time to take a trip to IMAX to forgive and forget. Turns out that after James Cameron broke all the box office records with his love letter to the doomed vessel, he wasn’t quite ready to leave the ghosts to rest. Instead he put together a slightly less photogenic team of scientists, historians and tech heads, and headed far out to sea in order to film the Titanic in her final resting place.

The result is a simply remarkable 60-minute 3D IMAX documentary. Cameron fashions the film around Titanic alumnus Bill Paxton, who narrates a rather reverent account of his voyage of discovery, while Cameron and the rest of the crew geek out in the background. It was a wise call to have such a familiar face walking the audience through this underwater experience, however Cameron almost errs too far on the side of caution, including hardly any thoughts from his academic team. Instead he focuses on a surprisingly gripping rescue mission after one of his two camera robots gives up the ghost and must be navigated to safety by its companion.

The rest of the film is given over to the majesty of the Titanic herself. There is something quite powerful about seeing the startlingly preserved remnants of the ship after 90 odd years in her watery grave. Cameron uses CG remodelling well, layering the images to give a great sense of context, but also allows the stark skeleton time to speak for itself. The documentary here becomes a respectful and deeply poignant tribute to the 1500 lives lost as well as a chronicle of what human failings brought them under.

Made back in 2003, Titanic 3D: Ghosts of the Abyss may be a timely re-release to cash in on James Cameron’s latest producorial effort, Sanctum, but such cynicism is best set aside. Instead just go and marvel at this spectacular piece of visual history; it’s 60 minutes very well spent.

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