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Ghosts of the Abyss: THE HTF 3D ADDICT REVIEW

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#1 of 2 OFFLINE   Ronald Epstein

Ronald Epstein

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Posted September 01 2012 - 02:46 AM

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What can I say?  I love 3D!  From the moment I began watching 3D content in my home I quickly discovered that I needed more content.  I suspect that those of you just purchasing your first 3D hardware will acquire the same ferocious appetite.  That's why I became the HTF 3D ADDICT.  I personally love images that pop off the screen and come inches away from your face without becoming overly gimmicky.  However, I certainly appreciate the nature documentaries that offer beautiful depth and separation.  These are not necessarily reviews of the film themselves.  I am not going to concentrate on story or supplements -- you can find the 2D reviews elsewhere on this forum.  My job is to let you know exactly what kind of 3D experience to expect from the titles that are being released.   As I will be receiving a handful of new product from the studios expect to see more title coverage.

Ghosts of the Abyss

Studio: Walt Disney

Product Release: September 11, 2012

Ratio: 1.85:1

Audio: English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1; French Dolby Digital 5.1; Spanish 2.0 Dolby Digital

Running Time: 60 Minutes (theatrical), 90 Minutes (extended)

Rating: PG

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Overall 3D Presentation Rating: 4

3D Separation: 4

3D In Yo' Face Factor: 3

This past April marked the 100th anniversary of the sinking of

the Titanic after it hit an iceberg in the North Atlantic during its

maiden voyage.  For the past 100 years, the world has been

fascinated with the many stories of triumph and tragedy tied to

the luxurious ocean liner that was believed to be "unsinkable."

Perhaps no-one has been more obsessed with the Titanic than

director James Cameron who in 1997 won Academy Awards for

Best Picture and Director for his epic film portraying the disaster.

In 2001, between the making of Titanic and Avatar, Cameron spent

7 weeks as part of an expedition documenting the remains of the

ship using state-of-the-art mini ROVs for interior exploration.  The

efforts of the exploration team have been captured in high definition

3D for this Ghosts of the Abyss documentary.

With a team of the marine experts and friend Bill Paxton, James

Cameron takes viewers directly into the wreckage which by all

accounts, is fascinating to watch.  Cameron avoids any disorientation

as to what photographed, adding live-action overlays of what life

would have been like on that part of the wreckage.  The inclusion

of Mr. Paxton makes this journey a far more personal one, and his

inclusion here as narrator is most welcome.

Descending 2 1/2 miles to the seafloor in a 3 man submersible,

the film's 3D depth really gives the viewer a better perception

of the cramped quarters inside the two MIRs and the sheer

vastness of the sea floor and wreckage.  While the level of depth

is more pronounced above water than below, I couldn't help but

to be tickled by the small bubbles of water that danced before

my face as the rover cameras scaled across the bow of the ship.

In all, image quality is excellent.  What is photographed above

water is presented with unparalleled HD clarity.  Below water,

the level of detail is somewhat hampered by the murkiness of

the water and available lighting from the Medusa chandelier --

but surprisingly the view is still stunning, and with its added

depth, even breathtaking at times.  Unfortunately, the ship's

interior images captured by the rovers (Jake and Elwood) are

of lower resolution and presented in small window boxes

against the main presentation.

I was pleasantly surprised to find some minor "In Yo Face"

pop-outs here, one of which involves a MIR submersible

going through its final tests, as it lunges its claws towards

the viewer.  The other involves the cast-steel arms of the

Titanic's davit poking itself outwards during a rover flyover.

I did not notice any ghosting issues.  Good thing.

I felt less submerged in the film's audio than I had hoped that

I would be.  The surround channels that support all the eerie sounds

of the echoing ocean floor seemed more subdued than I would

have liked.   Bill Paxton's narration rests squarely in the center,

never quite drowned out by Joel McNeely's score which is far more

detailed across the front and rears.  I really enjoyed the fact that

communication between the two MIR rovers were divided up between

the left and right channels.  LFE is abundant here.  My subwoofer was

rattling several times throughout the film, whether punctuating the

film's music or the pounding ocean waves.

Ghosts of the Abyss arrives as a 3-disc Blu-ray 3D+Blu-ray+DVD

package housed in a lenticular slipcase.  Only the film's 60 minute

theatrical feature is presented in 3D.  An extended 90 minute feature

can be viewed on the Blu-ray and DVD.  A featurette, "Reflections

From The Deep" can be found on the Blu-ray and it features

additional footage from the dives as well as interviews with James

Cameron, Bill Paxton and the crew.


Let's face it -- we are all caught up in the mysteries and stories

surrounding the deadliest maritime disaster in our history. Any

chance of going deeper into the wreck just to get a new "glimpse"

of its inner structures seems to be a never-ending fascination.

For anyone still in love with Titanic, Ghosts of the Abyss is as

good of a journey as it gets, though this Blu-ray set unfortunately

comes with a rather steep price tag.  


LG 60PX950 THX Certified 3D display

LG BX580 3D Blu-ray Player

Denon 3808CI Receiver

Atlantic Technology H-PAS AT-1 fronts, 4400 center; 4200 rear speakers

SV Sound Subwoofer


Ronald J Epstein
Home Theater Forum co-owner


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#2 of 2 OFFLINE   Felix Martinez

Felix Martinez


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Posted September 02 2012 - 11:39 AM

Nice review!  Looking forward to spinning this one up.