James Cameron in the Abyss: His Record-Setting Dive
After two Terminator sequels, Rambo, True Lies, Titanic, and Avatar, it’s good to see James Cameron plunge the depths of something other than audience taste. An unadulterated act of sheer Verneitude was achieved yesterday, when Cameron went deeper underwater through the Mariana Trench—said to be as deep as Everest is high—than anybody had previously. The two explorers—the only two explorers—who had otherwise been through the trench are a U.S. Navy officer and a full-time aquatic type from Switzerland. The machine Cameron took toward the Earth’s center had been seven years in the making, and required that he remain scrunched up, virtually impacted on himself, for close to ten hours. God knows, he didn’t do it for the money. (There is a $10 million prize for the first to reach the marina’s bottom, but that kind of cash is of course milk money to Cameron.) He did it for the sheer wonder of the enterprise, bringing lenses along so that his cameras could finally capture something other than those twin extremes, violence and agitprop, that Cameron’s cameras usually do. “It’s so exciting,” he told CNN. “Every second you see something cool or you’ve got something to do or you’re photographing or you see some amazing fish.” This is what well-financed action looks like when stripped of all its crass baggage of morality and titillation, allowed to roam free for no reason other than wonder’s own sweet sake.
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