xXx: Return of Xander Cage
The last forty minutes of the movie do come together in a pretty diverting way.
The timing of "Aliens of the Deep" couldn't be better. Days after a space probe landed successfully on Saturn's moon Titan and sent back spectacular photographs of its surface, here is a movie that explores the depths of the seas of Earth and then uses animation to imagine a probe that would fly to Jupiter's moon Europa and drill through its ice layer to the liquid water thought to be below. By finding living creatures on Earth that live under extreme conditions -- no sunlight, no photosynthesis, incredible pressure, extremes of hot and cold -- producer-director James Cameron convincingly argues that life could exist in the seas of Europa or, for that matter, in any number of harrowing environments.
For Cameron, the film continues an obsession. When he wrote and directed "The Abyss" in 1989, his story involved scientists venturing into the deepest parts of the ocean. The movie was a box office disappointment, not least because the director's cut reveals that the studio chopped crucial and amazing footage -- and also, reportedly, because many potential ticket-buyers did not know what an "abyss" is. For Cameron, it was an epiphany.
He returned to the sea bed for "Titanic" (1997), still the highest-grossing movie of all time, and essentially never came up for air. In 2002 his "Expedition: Bismarck," made for the Discovery Channel, used deep-water submersibles to visit the grave of the doomed battleship, and in 2003 he made the 3-D IMAX movie "Ghosts of the Abyss," which visited the wreck of the Titanic itself.
That was a movie with fascinating content, but I found the 3-D format unsatisfactory, and thought it might have been better to forget the gimmick and just give us the images. Now comes Cameron's "Aliens of the Deep," also in IMAX 3-D, also fascinating, and with much improved 3-D. After tinkering with the format for years, the IMAX technicians have devised oversized glasses that fit easily over existing eyeglasses and cover the entire field of vision. I saw the first 3-D movie, "Bwana Devil," in 1952, and have been tired of the format ever since, but IMAX finally seems to be getting it right.