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Aliens of the Deep - documentary DVD review
ALIENS OF THE DEEP Rated G by the Motion Picture Association of America rating: 3 stars
Actors: Dr. Anatoly M. Sagalevitch, Genya Chernaiev, Victor Nischeta, Pamela Conrad, Dr. Arthur 'Lonne' Lane
Directors: James Cameron & Steven Quale   Studio: Magnolia
DVD release: 01 Nov. 2005   Runtime: 99 minutes (1 disc)
Format: Closed-captioned, Color, Dolby, DVD-Video, Widescreen, NTSC
DVD Features: Subtitles (Spanish, French), Audio Tracks (English, Dolby Digital 5.1), Includes original 47-min. IMAX & expanded 99-min. versions (both in 2D only)

Originally released theatrically in 2003 as a 3-D IMAX experience, Aliens of the Deep is Academy Award-winning director James Cameron's second foray into deep-sea documentary making. The footage is the combined effort of Cameron and a NASA crew using underwater submersibles to capture footage of the ocean ridge below and the life forms that thrive in an environment that has no sunlight, is under extreme pressure, and has incredible temperature differences of hot and cold. The film also uses animation to show what a nuclear probe could possibly find were it to drill through miles of layers of ice to get to the liquid beneath the surface of Jupiter's moon Europa, to hopefully discover life forms which thrive much like the ones seen in the documentary.

Much like his previous effort Ghosts of the Abyss, something is lost in the 2-D transfer to DVD. That's not to say there aren't some stunning visuals; there are. It's just that there isn't much to the overall forty-seven minute or ninety-five minute running time, and the narration is less than illuminating on the creatures shown. Given the fact that it is less documentary and more exploration of a new world, that can be forgiven. But there is not nearly as much time underwater as there should have been, which makes you wonder what they shot on their forty dives. There are some strange creatures: a very ugly fish with two front feet, a quick shot of a giant squid, and a bizarre octopus. But must of the time is spent marveling at hydrothermal vents and the shrimp that survive off them (and the bacteria grown on crabs).

Disappointing for the lack of time actually shown exploring, Aliens of the Deep is still an enjoyable, but brief, experience in the depths of the Pacific and Atlantic oceans.
reviewed by Bobby Blades
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