The Abyss (1989)

There's everything you've ever known about adventure, and then there's The Abyss.

A civilian oil rig crew is recruited to conduct a search and rescue effort when a nuclear submarine mysteriously sinks. One diver soon finds himself on a spectacular odyssey 25,000 feet below the ocean's surface where he confronts a mysterious force that has the power to change the world or destroy it.

Cameron's Marvellous Close Encounters Of The Sea Kind.
Special Edition
A deep sea oil crew are called upon by the military to investigate the events that saw an American Nuclear Submarine crash down in the abyss. As the crew, and their hot headed Navy Seal passengers, get down deeper, it would seem they are not alone down there.
The Abyss is a flawed movie when put under the microscope, even allowing for the reinserted (and much better) ending that James Cameron was forced to cut by idiot studio executives. Most glaringly obvious as a fault is that The Abyss, after holding us for 2 hours of engrossing cinema, can't quite seal the deal as a deep (hrr hrr hrr) message movie for the modern era. What isn't in doubt upon revisits to the piece is that it's at times spectacular, at others it's joyously ambitious, both things coming together in one big loud boom of being a blockbuster with brains. James Cameron can never be accused of not trying to entertain the masses, and here, with a bit more thought on a humanist level, then we would have been talking in the realms of masterpiece.
The making of the film is itself worthy of a movie, a fraught and angry shoot with many problems, of which I wont bore you with as they can be found at the click of a mouse. But Cameron pushes hard because he wants to please and dazzle, and he does, every buck and sweat drop is up there on the screen to be witnessed. The lead actors put in great work, Ed Harris and Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio give the film its centrifugal emotive heart as the warring Brigham's, while Cameron fave Michael Biehn does a fine line in Gung-Ho decompression nut case! The technical aspects do dazzle, the visual effects rightly won the Academy Award in that department, and both the cinematography (Mikael Salomon) and art design (Dilley/Kuljian) are worth the price of a rental alone.
It's true to say that The Abyss is a fusion of Close Encounters Of The Third Kind & The Day The Earth Stood Still, but really I don't personally see anything wrong with that! As a spectacle it rewards the patient in spades, as a deeply profound moving picture it falls just about short, but even then a less than 100% Cameron picture is still one hell of a ride to be on. 8.5/10

Lightstorm Entertainment, Pacific Western, 20th Century Fox by James Cameron.
Stars: Ed Harris, Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio, Michael Biehn, Leo Burmester.

Genres: Adventure, Drama, Mystery, Sci-Fi, Thriller

Keywords: ocean submarine sea diving suit flying saucer nuclear missile alien life-form insanity scuba diving underwater scuba deepsea trapped underwater  thalassophobia


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