Underwater adventures have been done before, and after a certain point, it's easy to imagine there's nothing all that new to cover. Sure, there might be a few new, weird creatures to see, but they always seem to fall into one of a few specific categories: they're albino versions of other creatures, they're boneless or they glow in the dark.
Otherwise, the very bottom of the ocean looks like a silent wasteland rendered almost incomprehensible, not just because of its inhospitableness to human life, but its general hostility to all life.
As it turns out, that's not the case and with "Volcanoes of the Deep Sea." Even at the deepest depths, there is plenty to see. In fact, with the film, what's found along the way becomes more interesting than the hunt for the paleodictyon nodosum.
The hunt for the ancient beastie fades into the background as a broader discussion takes place regarding the tenacity of life and how living things somehow manage to thrive in abundance in places where they should not.
"Volcanoes of the Deep Sea" challenges the very idea of what is considered habitable. Rationally speaking, nothing should be able to live in total darkness, next to volcanic plumes of poisonous chemicals venting in water hot enough to boil a man alive.
Yet, it does. Life endures. Astonishingly, it thrives.
Eventually, of course, Low gets back to the hunt for paleodictyon nodosum, which serves as kind of an interesting way of encapsulating what the exploration of the ocean is about.
"Volcanoes of the Deep Sea" may not be for everyone. There aren't a lot of jaw-dropping visuals, scenes of wild action or any cool looking dinosaurs to keep younger viewers entertained, but it's a good piece of documentary filmmaking.
Reach Bill Lynch at ly...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-5195.