Just got in from the world premiere of James Cameron's new 3D IMAX film in Universal City — Aliens of the Deep, which opens nationwide on January 28. It's a documentary on the foreign worlds at the bottom of the ocean, and what those worlds may have in common with distant planets.
Anyone who read the recent Wired Magazine "Exploration" issue guest-edited by Mr. Cameron will find a familiar thread here… he is enamored with exploration, and with the alien realms in space and sea to which technology brings us closer.
The film was an overwhelming sensory experience, in part because of the stereoscopic technique employed (shot in HD with specially-constructed 3D cameras), but also because of the dizzyingly beautiful life forms they found thousands of feet below the ocean surface. I still can't get one of these deep, deep, deep-sea creatures out of my head — shown here. Looked like a giant diaphanous curtain of glass, rippling through the water. Amazing. And amazing because it is real, and alive, and not a product of CGI.
Link to movie website, and Link to more on "the making of" in Wired's recent Exploration issue. Should find an enthusiastic audience with young people (think: school groups), but there was plenty to keep adults glued to the 15/70 IMAX film frame, too. Yes, you have to wear the funny 3D glasses, but it's very much worth it.
(A personal footnote: Space Generation Foundation president Loretta Hidalgo — a lovely and insanely smart scientist who guided me and a bunch of other nauseated journalists through our first zero-gravity flight experience earlier this year — has a starring role in this film. This time, she's floating under the sea instead of 40,000 above the earth. What a rock star. Link to her first-person account, Link to her trip log, Link to previous Boing Boing post, and here's a snapshot I took of Loretta on the Zero-G plane.)
Update: Boing Boing reader and Rome-based astronomer Amara Graps says, "Here's a view on some of the scientific advice for the film by Kevin Hand, who traveled in the submersables to the hydrothermal vents with the film crew." Link.
And by "hydrothermal vents," Amara is referring to ginormous magma chimneys that belch smoke from the bowels of the earth, forming lead-melting plumes of boiling black firewater at the ocean floor, which hordes of see-thru shrimp teem around, fearlessly basking in chemical-rich spew. You know, no big deal.
Update 2: Here's a radio report I filed for NPR's "Day to Day" about the film: Link