The Abyss 8/10
The Abyss (PG-13) 1989
Reviewer’s Tilt (7)
Special DVD Features worth a look-Extra Footage Version
Before Titanic, James Cameron wrote and directed a little film called the Abyss. When a nuclear submarine gets lost in one of the deepest parts of the ocean, it is up to an oil rig crew and their deep sea equipment to get it back. Bud (Ed Harris) and Lindsey (Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio), are recently divorced oilrig specialists, hiding from one another the small spark left in their relationship. Although somewhat overlong, and provided with a disappointing conclusion, The Abyss is one of the most visually stunning movies ever produced.
It is rare for any special effects to hold up for over a decade, but these effects clearly do. Instead of guns and carnage, Cameron uses these special effects to paint an artistic calmness across the screen. The special effects prove to be stars themselves, moving the story forward in a way no real actor ever could. Scenes such as the mercurial water creature amaze, explain and entertain more than any of the movie’s dialogue, and images such as the liquid-breathing mouse are truly worth a thousand words, eliminating much of the geek-speak that would otherwise be required to explain the technology.
Winning an Oscar for best special effects, the beauty of The Abyss lies in the journey, rather than the destination. The spectacular visuals and winning score are enough, in and of themselves, to make this a successful film, worthy of multiple viewings. Avoid getting hung up on the destination, and just enjoy this stellar trip.
Format: Color, Widescreen, Closed captioned.
Sound: (Dolby Digital 5.1), (Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround), THX-Mastered Audio
Extras: Featurette: Under pressure: Making The Abyss, Biographies, Script, Original Treatment, Storyboards, Photos, Mission Components, The Abyss In-Depth, new version of film with 28 minutes of added footage, pop-up caption version of film, trailer.