Life & Art Writer 4 Life
GHOSTS OF THE ABYSS
I will admit that I have seen this large format film about James Cameron’s exploration of the ruins of the real Titanic before. Well, sort of. See, they never gave me the 3-D glasses the first time through.
It was actually kind of funny watching the other two people in the theater clawing at the screen like a pair of house cats, but trying to comprehend the blurred images on screen intensified my motion sickness (a pretty common phenomenon even with the glasses).
The 3-D goggles make a difference. Now, the pictures of the wreckage were still grainy and harshly lit due to limits of man’s technology, but the shots of the crew above water were perfectly clear and boring as Hades. Not to say that Cameron doesn’t try to liven up his film with humor both above and below water – keyword being [try]. I applaud his brave efforts to include as many 3-D effects as possible, but they simply come off like too many 3-D effects.
Buena Vista has been quoted as saying that Ghosts is “unscripted”; however, the director tries to insert awkward subplots into the film with annoying “gee whiz” narration. I have no problem with actors recreating crucial scenes of the sinking – I don’t even have a problem with regular people doing it, but the whole “Save the Bots” and September 11th reaction scenes were just dead weight.
That said none of the other nine people in the massive screening room seemed to expect an Oscar-caliber screenplay or acting. No, they just desired to be awed by the immense beauty that was the Titanic (as long as they didn’t have to sit through that “I’m king of the world” crap again).
Screensize: bigger than Jupiter
Look at the graphic accompanying this review. Note that unlike Ghosts, this gem of animation is not made by Disney or the makers of Shrek. I bring up this point because the existence of this Planet essentially revolves around the promotion a ride developed by at a European theme park. Oh yeah, and something about the environment spiraling rapidly out of flux.
The movie enters orbit by bantering about how the World Wildlife Foundation wished to have a theme park attraction that highlighted a few of our more intimidating environmental threats. They ended up picking an environment- themed park in the Netherlands, and thus the movie shifts gears as it tries to tackle these issues: global warming, over fishing, and, of course, making paper from rainforest.
Each of these topics is accompanied by short computer animated vignettes that apparently ate up most of the film’s budget. And surely getting the cranky Walter Cronkite to do the narration probably took up the rest.
While fun to look at, the animation ranges from a bootleg of Finding Nemo during its early stages purchased from a Pixar informant to a bad version of Donkey Kong. And worse: the portions of live action are simply stock video clips from (at least) the early ’80s. In case your ears are ringing, that’s an S.O.S. signal in your ear.
Another problem with this film: Walter Cronkite over enunciates the sub par script so that it almost comes off like Professor Smith’s “Intro to Earth Science” at Matrix University. It’s good to know Mr. Cronkite cares about the environment and all, but surely “the most trusted man in America” can find better projects.
The script, which lambastes the media for not covering the core issues in depth, does not do an all too thorough job of describing them either, nor does it really provide any realistic alternatives to stop our drastic descent into fire and huge chunks of flaming rock and more fire and hot lava.
IMAX is one of the shops at Sunset Place, 5701 S. Dixie Highway. Lookout for schedules because sometimes they give out free days for UM students where they serve free food and free (returnable) 3-D glasses.
Jonathan Twiggar is 4-D and can be reached at J.firstname.lastname@example.org.