STUDIO: Buena Vista
MSRP: $29.99
RUNNING TIME: 47 Minutes
SPECIAL FEATURES: Extended Version

The Pitch

"(James Cameron + water + Documentary – Bill Paxton) * Aliens (but not Aliens)."

The Humans

The King of the World and some loyal subjects.

The Nutshell

James Cameron takes a crew of marine biologists and NASA scientists on a deep, deep, deep sea fishing trip. The idea is to learn about never-before-seen ocean creatures and extrapolate ideas on what these creatures may tell us about life on other planets.

The Package

Honestly I expected more. The only extra on the disk is an expanded version? That’s it? No documentary on the filming? No NASA-produced propaganda about the Jupiter moons (since they play a part in the film’s thesis)? No documentaries on new technology used during filming (I assume there was some)?

An extended version of the film and that’s it? That’s pretty slim. I can’t imagine that this disk is a prime candidate for a double-dip either. Not unless they are doing a Cameron documentary double dip and package it up with Ghosts of the Abyss or something.

Technically, however, it is awe-inspiring. The film is stunning in detail and makes my crappy 35in set look like it is high def. The film is a visual experience (especially considering it was originally shot for IMAX) and it doesn’t lose anything on DVD.

The number one rule of Comedy: Chimps are always funny.

The Lowdown

I missed this when it came to IMAX theaters last summer. I wanted to see it – but Batman Begins (if I recall) dominated my local IMAX screen. As such I waited for DVD.

I got what I expected on the technical side. Every part of the movie looks stunning (which I was also concerned about – since I wasn’t watching it on an IMAX screen).

The thesis the documentary uses as a plot device works well. I expected them to do a lot more with it – extrapolating more and more theories about possible life on other worlds, but they didn’t get too far “out there.” They stayed with basic theories about organism that could exist.

Red Rocket! Red Rocket!

They backed up their theories, obviously, with information gleaned in the dives. There was also a CGI segment about the Jupiter moons and how an exploration there could happen to discover life. This scene really helps bring the general ideas the documentary conveys.

One thing that really annoyed me was the lack of extras on the disk (as I noted above). Just an extended edition is a bit cheap. More than that, however, is that the expanded scenes are mostly about James Cameron.

I like Cameron. I like him a lot. But the guy has an ego the size of the Titanic. Granted, he has earned the right, in some degree, to carry around that ego too. The first expanded scene, however, makes you want to sink one of his subs, with him in it (either that or have one of the fish from Piranha 2 chomp him in the nads). There is a problem and the ship’s cranes can’t get the submersibles into the water. Everyone has a big powwow to find a solution. Cameron’s solution? Cut a big whole in the top of the ship. The Captain agrees, they do it, it works.

Good for Jim. He saved the day. But, if we are given only a little bit of extra time worth of expansion, shouldn’t it focus on the dives? Or the other people on the crew? I don’t know, but Cameron’s need to be front and center just annoyed me. I was shocked he didn’t put himself in the actual movie more, I’m not surprised he couldn’t contain himself twice.

7 out of 10

“No, this is how you use the stapler. Like this. Jesus. Can you do anything right? Look. You place fingers on it and then press down firmly, but not sharply. Are you watching? You can just leave right now if you aren’t committed to getting this right."