Wreckage is scarier than ghosts

Those who cried like babies watching James Cameron’s Titanic (I’m guilty as charged) might get a kick out of this film, a return to the ship’s wreckage two miles under the ocean surface. Cameron goes to the Titanic in two mini submarines with a couple of robotic cameras and pal Bill Paxton in tow. The results are often amazing, as the two mini cameras (nicknamed Jake and Elwood) travel inside the ship’s rooms and compartments, capturing images that boggle the mind. Detailed stained glass windows remain intact, and medicine bottles stand upright where they were left by passengers. The film was originally shot for a 3-D Imax presentation, and the DVD is one-dimensional, so there are many moments where objects are intentionally stuck towards the camera lens for the in-your-face effect. The trips to the Titanic are mesmerizing, but Cameron’s technique of using CGI “ghosts,” recreations of passengers superimposed on the wreckage, can be a little grating. Some images, such as the captain walking on the decaying bridge, are interesting, but much of the effort seems unnecessary because the wreckage imagery is more than enough. The film goes for a documentary effect, yet some of the situations feel a bit staged. Still, the wreckage footage is remarkable.

Special Features: The two-disc set features two versions of the film, the original 60-minute theatrical cut and a 90-minute extended version. Reflections of the Deep claims to have unseen footage and interviews, but it contains nothing as interesting as the film itself. The Mir Experience, where the viewer can pretend they are in a submersible ship on the way to Titanic, isn’t as fun as it sounds.

Movie: B+

Special Features: C+

DVD Geek Factor: 5