Aliens of the Deep James Cameron and Steven Quale

If cutting-edge scientific exploration is your thing, you don't want to miss Aliens of the Deep. If, however, you wouldn't be caught dead watching an episode of Nova unless you were going to be tested on it, there's no shame in skipping this one. Director James Cameron has spent the last decade of his career focussing on underwater exploration; using "state of the art" cameras and equipment he has taken us on board the sunken Titanic and Bismarck. In this inspired piece of filmmaking he goes deeper than ever before, examining life as it exists farther away from the sun than anywhere else on earth. Because the strange and beautiful creatures Cameron films survive off energy that comes from the earth's core, it is theoretically possible that similar life exists on other planets like Mars. Cameron approaches the "never before seen" life forms with a sense of innocent wonder, which helps the film appeal to a wider audience than just the pencil-necks in the bio-lab. He surrounds himself with biologists from a number of fields whose genuine awe at the spectacles they encounter helps the audience understand just how fascinating their discoveries are. The expedition is tied to larger themes, as Cameron reminds us that the sun could go out tomorrow and this ecosystem would continue on uninterrupted. At only 47 minutes, the film is a nice little reminder that life is still full of mystery. Marine biologist Dijanna Figueroa says it best, "If these animals didn't exist, we could not have imagined them. It makes me wonder what else is out there waiting to be discovered." (Buena Vista/Walt Disney)