I didn’t know spelunking was the new rage, but it seems to have cropped up in all sorts of movies relatively recently, from narrative features and festival shorts to documentaries. The latest is this hour-long NOVA title, Extreme Cave Diving, which sounds like it should come with a coupon for a free six-pack of Mountain Dew.
Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry posited that space was the final frontier, but we’ve actually barely scratched the surface of the mysteries of our own planet, especially as it pertains to the cavernous depths of our oceans. Following the charismatic Dr. Kenny Broad, director-producer James Barrat’s Extreme Cave Diving takes viewers on an interesting journey deep into blue holes — dark, heretofore largely unexplored underwater caves formed during the last ice age, when the sea level was nearly 400 feet below what it is today.
These areas are treacherous as much for what isn’t known about them as for what is, but Broad and his interdisciplinary team of climatologists, paleontologists and
anthropologists are excellent tour guides for this trip, providing nice shorthand contextualization for why such mysteries abound. And these caves aren’t as lonely as one would expect, either — magnificent creatures alien to human eyes scour the depths of the ocean, broadening the mysteries of life on Earth. Wes Skiles’ cinematography is stirring and evocative, capturing this “alternate universe” in a way that leaves one leaning forward in wonder.
Housed in a regular plastic Amaray case, Extreme Cave Diving comes to DVD presented in 1.78:1 widescreen, with an English 2.0 stereo audio track that more than adequately handles the relatively straightforward and meager aural demands of this title. There are unfortunately no supplemental bonus features to speak of, save some promotional link information. To purchase the DVD from PBS, phone (800) PLAY-PBS, or click here; to purchase the DVD via Amazon, meanwhile, click here. B (Movie) D (Disc)