Deepsea Challenge 3D Movie

Published August 15, 2014


by Emma Potter, NG Kid Reporter

I attended the premiere of Deepsea Challenge 3D in New York City at the American Museum of Natural History. The movie was made by film director and National Geographic Explorer-in-Residence James Cameron about the first solo voyage to the deepest part of the ocean, the Mariana Trench.

Before I went in, I saw the neon green DeepSea Challenger, the actual submersible that Mr. Cameron used to dive down to the bottom of the ocean. It was parked outside the museum on Central Park West and was as big as a truck. I also met two scientists who had been on the voyage. They told me many things about the vessel. For example, that it went down horizontally and it had two hand-like claws used to grab rock specimens from the sea floor.


As we entered the theater they handed out 3D glasses. The glasses made the movie feel like you were right there underwater with Mr. Cameron. It made the movie more exciting and realistic.


The scariest part of the movie was when he was finally making the voyage 36,000 feet (10,972 meters) down to the bottom of the trench. When there was a loud cracking sound, I thought he wasn’t going to make it. It was very suspenseful.


I learned many things watching Deepsea Challenge 3D. The Mariana Trench was formed by plate tectonics in the Earth. The pressure down below is so intense it feels like three SUVs are sitting on your toe.  You have to do lots of tests and rehearsals before making that kind of experiment.


What surprised me was when you get to the bottom there is nothing there. It looks like a smooth floor covered in sand with no sea life. The reason sea life can’t live there is because there is so much pressure. Still, they discovered 68 brand new species.


There are many good results of Mr.  Cameron’s odyssey to the Mariana Trench.  It is good for science and for discovering new things.  Most important of all, it shows that nothing is impossible.  Mr. Cameron is the kind of explorer who inspires many people just like me.  One day I’d like to explore space further than what has already been discovered. As Mr. Cameron said to the kids after the film’s screening, “Don’t let anyone tell you there’s anywhere you can’t go.”


Photograph by R. Mickens, American Museum of Natural History

NG Kid Reporter Emma Potter with astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson and Nat Geo Explorer-in-Residence James Cameron at a screening of Deepsea Challenge 3D at the American Museum of Natural History in New York.

Did You Know?

  • The Mariana Trench is deeper than Mount Everest is high and than the height commercial airliners fly.
  • Ocean trenches form when two tectonic plates collide and one of the plates dives beneath the other into the Earth's mantle.

Nat Geo Initiative


Would you rather explore the depths of the ocean or the far reaches of space?