James Cameron’s “Avatar: The Way of Water” mutated into a huge hit on Disney+ as well. There’s also his impressive underwater film “Aliens of the Seas,” in which the director explores the Atlantic and Pacific oceans. Our streaming tip!
Before our author Michael Gasch, reveals to you what makes the deep-sea documentary “Aliens of the Seas” so worth watching and why it is the perfect complement to “Avatar: The Way of Water”, once again the note that you can watch the film at no additional cost in the subscription of Disney+. So there you have the possibility to make yourself a double feature with the sequel to “Avatar” (or if you’re really crazy, even a triple feature).
THAT’S WHAT “ALIENS OF THE SEAS “
James Cameron undertook a unique research project in 2005. Equipped with specially constructed submarines, the journey went to depths of thousands of meters – both in the Atlantic and the Pacific. Supported by an entire team of biologists and marine researchers, the goal was to collect data.
However, it was also a matter of taking a look at underwater creatures that look like creatures from other planets, which cavort there hidden from our gaze. The nature documentary “Aliens of the Seas” captures that impressive diving adventure.
RETURN TO A TIME BEFORE THE “AVATAR” ERA
When James Cameron isn’t at a Hollywood studio tinkering with his next gigantic blockbuster, the Canadian film director spends his remaining time exploring the oceans. For more than 30 years, this has been clearly noticeable in his films – just think back to the much underrated masterpiece “Abyss” in the oppressive deep sea or his universally known epic “Titanic”. But even beyond that, the Hollywood icon is unstoppable.
His passion for the oceans goes so far that he has already been to the deepest point in the world and has accompanied several research missions to this day – most recently Mission OceanX. His 2005 production “Aliens of the Seas”, but also “James Cameron’s Deepsea Challenge”, among others, can therefore be seen as the basic framework for his blockbusters, in which he processes his passion but also scientific findings.
“ALIENS OF THE SEAS” MAY BE A DOCUMENTARY, BUT IT LOOKS LIKE A CAMERON BLOCKBUSTER
As befits Cameron productions, he also serves up the most modern film technology to the audience here (at least according to the state of the art at the time). So also for his underwater documentary IMAX cameras and 3D technology were used. Even though at first glance this won’t do much for you nowadays, unless you have a huge screen or a screen in an opulent home theater at your disposal, you can see Cameron’s penchant for big (cinema) pictures.
Optically, “Aliens of the Seas” is so simply stunning. But even beyond that, the production scores with a great strength: it shows us how different documentaries and blockbusters are from each other. Instead of a suspenseful atmosphere like in “Abyss” or a literally fantastic one like in “The Way Of Water,” the images here seem more distant and play more with the factor of the unknown.
While Cameron knows exactly which buttons to push in “Avatar” to captivate the audience, this looks different here. In other words, thinking back to how “Avatar” emotionally engages the audience and seems more or less composed or rather contrived, “Aliens of the Seas” takes us to a different, more authentic world.
NOT AN 08/15 DOCUMENTARY
What we get here is not a conventional documentary with the same old talking heads and facts. Cameron does not deal here with a lot of scientific explanations or some kind of inventory about researched and unexplored organisms. Infographics are rarely used to really convey knowledge. Instead, it’s more about hands-on experience. The focus is not only on the deep-sea images, but also on Cameron himself, who cultivates close friendships with the research experts, some of whom were already on board for “Titanic”.
What is shown is not always beautiful, and James Cameron also has to laugh at the “ugliest fish in the world” once in a while. But for beautiful pictures there is “Avatar: The Way of Water”.
JAMES CAMERON: SCIENTIST AND ARTIST
Even though the documentary is a bit older, you get a pretty clear picture of James Cameron after just a few minutes. While filmmaking “only” takes 2nd place in his life, the general urge for exploration and adventure represents the most important thing. After all, that is – hear, hear: “much more exciting than any made-up Hollywood effects”.
Cameron subconsciously earns himself some sympathy points for preserving his inner child. Once you put the impressive underwater world and state-of-the-art gadgetry in the background, “Aliens of the Seas” shows a primarily childlike filmmaker who has fun and enjoys exploring.
Looking at “Aliens of the Seas” and Cameron’s further vita, it’s fair to say: If it weren’t for this scientific streak and all his adventures so far, it’s highly likely that there would have been no “Avatar 2”. So it’s worth taking a look back in time to understand how his passion culminates in this blockbuster sequel that’s so impressive.