National Geographic // 2012 // 240 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge David Johnson // November 19th, 2012
Revealing the mysterious living world of the ocean.
From National Geographic: a man, his sub, and a lot of water. When it comes to deep sea exploration, Dr. Robert Ballard is kind of a big deal. He earned some serious clout when he...discovered the damn Titanic! So right off the bat you should know you're dealing with the name in puttering around the bottom of the ocean.
Alien Deep harnesses the power of Dr. Ballard and turns him loose, poking around all manner of plankton and crab. This five-episode series originally appeared on the National Geographic Channel, and follows Ballard as he tackles five separate investigations:
* "It's Alive" -- Can the origins of life be unlocked in the depths of the ocean? Ballard goes deep to find species thriving in total blackness, far away from the life-giving rays of the sun.
* "Wrecks of the Abyss" -- Ballard gets his shipwreck-hunting groove on again, stumbling across some pretty impressive debris.
* "Ocean's Fury" -- Big. Ass. Waves.
* "Inner vs. Outer Space" -- As the Earth continues to run out of space, Ballard challenges (in all seriousness) the notion of colonizing other planets. He thinks a Waterworld-like existence beckons on the high seas.
* "Fires of Creation" -- How do you top the previous four episodes? By diving down in a tin can to find an undersea volcano!
Each episode clocks in at a standard 48 minutes and -- despite my smarmy commentary -- each is packed with nautical goodness. If you have any interest in the subject matter, by all means track down Alien Deep (Blu-ray).
The big selling point is the HD. As you can imagine, the 1.78:1/1080i picture quality pushes out some sterling deep blue imagery. There is much eye candy to soak up, from the freakish life forms that reside in the depths, to the majesty of the roiling water up top. A DTS 5.1 Surround track accompanies, but you're not missing anything with the lossy audio; the sound is front-loaded and low-key. Only one extra: a bonus episode, "Deep Secrets: The Ballard Gallipoli Expedition."
Not Guilty. Glub.
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Scales of Justice
Studio: National Geographic
* 1.78:1 Non-Anamorphic (1080i)
* DTS 5.1 Surround (English)
* English (SDH)
Running Time: 240 Minutes
Release Year: 2012
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
* Bonus Episode