Ghosts Of The Abyss - Movie Review
by Michael Elliott

Artistic Rating: **
Comments: A blend of stunning cinematography, technological achievements and historical significance make this 60 minute documentary interesting to watch.
Directed By: James Cameron
Starring: Bill Paxton James Cameron Ken Marschall Don Lynch Charles R. Pellegrino Lewis Abernathy Mike Cameron
Written By: Karl Geurs
Rated: G
Running Time: 1 hr : 0 min
Scripture References: Ecclesiastes 2:11 James 1:11 2 Peter 3:10-11

What does a man do after directing the most financially successful film in history? James Cameron, five years after the release of Titanic, has decided to return to the site of his triumph in the IMAX 3D documentary, Ghosts of the Abyss.

It's been 91 years since the Titanic took its maiden voyage, struck an iceberg and sank, sending over 1500 of the crew and passengers to their deaths. In that time the ship has been slowly falling victim to the biological formations known as "rusticles" which are eating at its steel. It is estimated that within another 20 years or so the Titanic will lose its structural integrity and collapse. Cameron desired to launch a full-scale photographic expedition before that occurred.

His expedition team consists of an odd mix of historians, marine biologists, artists and engineers. Coming along for the ride (and serving as the audience surrogate) is actor Bill Paxton (Frailty).

Cameron takes his cameras some 2 1/2 miles down to the floor of the North Atlantic where the sunken vessel sits. Using Remotely Operated Vehicles (ROVs) called BOT-1 and BOT-2 (which are quickly nicknamed Jake and Elwood) as well as improved IMAX 3D technology, he's able to gain access to much of the ship's interior. Many of the images we see in the film have not been viewed by man since the Titanic slipped beneath the waves back in 1912.

Cameron does a good job of keeping us involved in his film and showing us the significance of what we are seeing. He'll often superimpose photographs of the Titanic or images of actors in period costumes (the ghosts of the title) to help us remember the grandeur of the now decaying ship.

A few unscripted and unexpected events even add a touch of drama and some added perspective to the expedition. When one of the "BOTs" loses battery power while exploring the great ship, Cameron and his team launch a rescue operation using the other BOT. It is riveting stuff, marred only by the decision to play the cheesy romantic ballad "Just The Two of Us" as the two BOTs emerge together from a hole in the hull of the Titanic.

Ironically, this rescue operation took place on Sept. 11, 2001, the day of the terrorist attacks in New York City and Washington DC. As the crew tries to absorb the tragic loss of life that took place back home, the tragedy of the Titanic becomes somehow more emotionally real to us. We can identify with the shock and horror that must have been felt in 1912 by those hearing the news for the first time that 1500 people perished on that night of April 14.

The Titanic was not supposed to sink. It was recognized in its time as a marvel and a testament to the ingenuity, skill, and superiority of man. And yet sink it did. All of man's ingenuity could not counter the results of man's arrogance and pride which led to the Titanic's demise.

The lesson to be learned is that nothing that we, as mere men, build, make or fashion while in this world will endure forever. Eternity is not something that is temporal. It is a spiritual reality. Seeing the Titanic being slowly eaten away by small God-created biological formations is rather humbling. While we can and should be proud of our accomplishments, we must put them into their proper perspective.

Then I looked on all the works that my hands had wrought, and on the labour that I had laboured to do: and, behold, all was vanity and vexation of spirit, and there was no profit under the sun. Ecclesiastes 2:11 (KJV)

The best thing that we can build in our lifetimes is a relationship with our heavenly Father. With that as a foundation to all we do, we may continue with our technical achievements and advancements knowing that our greatest work has already been sewn in our hearts.

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