James Cameron’s adventurous, big screen documentary Deepsea Challenge 3D centers on the famous director’s personal journey to fulfill his childhood ambition to become an explorer. The film follows Cameron making history as the first person to travel alone to the planet’s deepest point, almost 7 miles beneath the surface of the ocean to the bottom of the Mariana Trench.
A number of scientific discoveries were made during the expedition. Cameron deployed his submersible Deepsea Challenger on 13 dives, collected many samples and identified 68 new species.
Comparing the Deepsea Challenger to other submersibles, National Geographic said “the vessel was an aquatic rocket ship. Deep-diving craft tended to be fat, blocky, and slow, wasting too much of their dive time getting to and from the bottom. Cameron intended to get to the bottom fast and come up even faster, allowing for more time to explore the seafloor.”
The danger involved was obvious. Cameron staked his own life on the belief that this sub, which he designed and built himself, could withstand the pressure at 36,000 feet below sea level.
The documentary had three directors: John Bruno (Virus), who worked in the art department on several of Cameron’s previous films (such as 2009’s Avatar); Ray Quint; and the underwater explorer/filmmaker Andrew Wight, who was killed in a helicopter crash while working on the project in 2012.
Deepsea Challenge 3D heads to theaters nationwide on Aug.8, 2014.