When I was a kid, I loved the TV show “In Search of …” It was narrated by Leonard Nimoy who played Mr. Spock on Star Trek. With its contemplative baratone guide, the show trekked the earth seeking answers to some of life’s mysteries. Viewers were taken in search of Big Foot, Noah’s Arc, killer bees, mummy’s curses, Amelia Earhart, pyramid secrets, UFOs, tidal waves, Dracula and more.
But the episode I remember waiting for in great anticipation was “In Search of … the Titanic.” Which, in 1981, had not yet been found. So, obviously, they didn’t find it on the show. True to form, viewers were left with more questions than answers. I just remember being completely bummed out.
Well, ladies and gentleman, Leonard Nimoy has left the building.
As you know, the Titanic has since been found (in 1985). You may not know, however, that the IMAX documentary Titanica takes you to the depths of the ocean – in the way that only IMAX can – to see it for yourself.
Titanica is a 45-minute documentary that chronicles an international deep-sea expedition to the wreck site of the R.M.S. Titanic, which sank in April 1912. Although it was filmed in 1992, Titanica takes viewers on an undersea journey with the spectacular clarity of 70 mm IMAX film. The Henry Ford is showing a brand new print of the film, and although there are some clues in the documentary that give away when it was filmed, the clarity of IMAX movie-going remains unparalleled.
Titanica tells the story of the ship and expedition through the eyes a survivor of the wreck and the explorers looking for it. The survivor, Eva Hart, was seven in 1912 when she and her parents boarded the vessel to journey across the ocean.
I found myself riveted.
I have to confess that the idea of underwater sea travel makes me a little nervous. So, the thought of being more than 12,500 feet deep in the pitch black sea – in a Russian submersible the size of (maybe) a minivan – kept me slightly on edge. Add that fact to the touching recollections of Eva Hart, the excitement of the explorers as they found and filmed the remnants of the ship and its artifacts, and the underlying awareness of the magnitude of the sadly tragic consequences of the Titanic’s sinking, I found the movie very engaging.
The Henry Ford’s IMAX projection manager, Ron Bartch, reminded me after the film, the IMAX experience takes you to and puts you in places that you cannot go. Boy, does it ever.
In some scenes of the film, viewers see untouched on the ocean floor artifacts that are now part of Titanic: The Artifact Exhibition: au gratin bowls, wine bottles, plates, to name a few. The ability to see some original photographs from the building of the Titanic on the huge IMAX screen also struck me with regard to the sheer enormity of the ship. The image of the Titanic became complete for me when the submersibles explored up close the ship’s iconic bow – made famous by another very popular Titanic movie that’ll also soon be showing at The Henry Ford IMAX Theater.
Titanica is most definitely a great accompaniment to vistors going to the artifact exhibit. It’s recommended by the filmmakers for audiences of all ages. I agree with that, but will say that younger children may have some challenges understanding what they are seeing. It may be more meaningful for them to see the artifact exhibit first so they can relate some of what they see in the movie with what they viewed at the exhibit.
Tickets for Titanica can be purchased online or by calling 313.271.1570,
I highly recommend this movie. In addition to being engaging and educational, it is sensitive in its telling of the Titanic tragedy. There are some curriculum resources that would be useful to educators, parents and anyone who wants to look a little deeper into the film. The IMAX experience at The Henry Ford is extraordinary because it is the largest IMAX screen in Michigan.
James Cameron’s Titanic: An IMAX 3D Experience opens April 4. Stay tuned for more information.
Kristine Hass is a writer and long-time member of The Henry Ford.