THE ABYSS (15)
D: James Cameron
20th Century Fox (Gale Anne Hurd)
USA 🇺🇸 1989
140 mins (Director's Cut 163 mins)
W: James Cameron
DP: Mikael Solomon
Ed: Joel Goodman
Mus: Alan Silvestri
PD: Leslie Dilley
Cos: Deborah Everton
Ed Harris (Bud Brigman), Mary
Elizabeth Mastrantonio (Lindsey Brigman), Michael Beihn (Lt. Coffey), George Robert Klek (Wilhite), John Bedford Lloyd ('Jammer' Willis), Christopher Murphy (Seal Schoenick), Adam
Nelson (Monk), J. C. Quinn ('Sonny' Dawson), Kimberly Scott (Lisa 'One Night' Standing)
This is a rather difficult film to review because
it has a decent story, amazing visual effects and is very well made, unfortunately though, it is less than the sum of all of it's parts becoming a bit of a mish-mash which didn't
quite reach it's full potential. That being said, it does feature a scene which can only be described as an absolute modern classic, with Ed Harris & Mary Elizabeth
Mastrantonio arguing the best decision to escape from a sinking submersible. It also gave birth to CGI effects and therefore has to be recognised as a milestone for this
The film attempts to inject some Cold War
allegories into it, which don't really work, but as a standalone sci-fi/disaster movie it's enjoyable on that level.
A nuclear submarine has it's hull breached and
comes to rest on the edge of a deep abyss. A team of Navy Seals then take charge of a deep-sea drilling rig with the mission of salvaging the nuclear warheads aboard the stricken
vessel. Things get dicey when alien life forms are spotted miles beneath the waves and the lieutenant in charge of the operation starts to crack up in the claustrophobic
atmosphere and becomes psychotically paranoid.
The build up really deserves a better ending, but
a director's cut of the movie gives more insight into the intentions of the extra-terrestrial beings.
The production design, visual effects and stunning
underwater photography cannot be faulted, nor can the two lead performances. It could have been better, but also, this could have been much worse considering the standard of other
deep sea horror/sci-fi movies released around the same time, especially those attempting to relocate the formula from Alien (qv) to beneath the waves.