Cameron narrates stunning Titanic simulation

A documentary billed as "the ultimate forensic investigation" of the sinking, though voyeuristic, promises to be fascinating.

The animation shows the Titanic splitting in two and plunging into the depths. Video screenshot by Tim Hornyak/CNET

Just in case his billion-dollar blockbuster wasn't realistic enough for you, not to mention the new $18 million 3D version, James Cameron has created another film about the Titanic, which presents its final minutes in stunning detail.

"From iceberg to bottom, it's never been animated so precisely and so dramatically," the Canadian ubermensch and premier Titanic obsessive says in the trailer to "Titanic: The Final Word With James Cameron," which premieres on the National Geographic Channel on April 8.

Having logged more than 30 dives to the Titanic wreck and a record for recently reaching the Challenger Deep alone , Cameron is uniquely suited to investigating the disaster. He's often said he made the feature film just so he could dive the wreck itself.

Nonetheless, he assembled a team of eight experts for the documentary, which also features a 42-foot Titanic replica.

The team will examine Cameron's 1997 epic and discuss what science has since learned about the sinking, which happened 100 years ago this month. Check out the clip below, showing Cameron narrating the simulated sinking.

The centenary has prompted a deluge of related material, from lavishly designed books to science articles to apps to tweets re-creating the maiden voyage of the "unsinkable" behemoth. There's even a Titanic Memorial Cruise departing Southampton on April 8th, as well as one departing New York two days later.

National Geographic, foremost among groups fixated on the sinking, is running a three-month "Titanic: 100 Year Obsession" exhibition at its museum in Washington, D.C. It's part of the massive industry surrounding the disaster that begs the question: why do we still care about this?

Whether it's the human tragedy, the ship's grandeur, the engineering hubris, or the many historical and scientific inquiries that followed, Titanic seems to have an unshakable hold on our collective imagination.

This voyeuristic fascination with the catastrophe will only grow stronger through modern interactive media. We relive the iceberg, the blackout, the scramble for the lifeboats, the frigid waters, and death, over and over again.

Indeed, it feels like we were there ourselves, though safe in the comfort of our homes.


 

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