“ Genre: Science Fiction & Fantasy - Fantasy / Theatrical Release: 1989 / Director: James Cameron / Actors: Ed Harris, Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio ... / DVD released 11 February, 2003 at 20th Century Fox / Features of the DVD: Closed-captioned, Colour, DVD-Video, Letterboxed, NTSC, Special Edition, Widescreen „
* Prices may differ from that shown
I saw an advert for this film the other day and although I vaguely remember seeing it before I couldn't remember what happened, so when it was on telly a couple of nights ago I decided to tune in. The Abyss was released in 1989 and was written and directed by James Cameron.
When an American submarine carrying nuclear missiles crashes, they believe the Russians are to blame. They send Navy seals to a nearby underwater oil rig and enlist the help of the workers there. The group set off to the crash site to look for survivors but the Navy seems to have other plans and when all the power is cut, something strange and unexpected appears before them.
Although there is a lot going on in this film I think the main story is the relationship between head of the rig Bud and his estranged wife Lindsey. It's slightly different to your average boy meets girl because they're on the brink of divorce and can't stand each other - or that's how they act. They are forced together through the mission and although the ending is predictable it was nice to see a different dynamic to the relationship between the two leads.
There are quite a few sub plots including the Navy's mission that's been kept a secret from the oil riggers and the strange things that appear in the water. Although these are all interesting, I felt the film was a little confused as to what it was trying to be. The ending especially is totally different to the emotional scenes and action that takes place beforehand.
Apart from Bud and Lindsay, the other main character was Navy Seals' Lieutenant Coffey. Initially I thought he was just a bit effasive but as the film progresses, it's clear that he is not thinking straight and even though he thinks he's sane he clearly isn't.
The special effects are fantastic, considering this film is twenty years old they haven't really dated. The only thing that makes it look a little out of date is the clothes the characters wear but that can't be helped. The scenery is stunning, so picturesque and beautiful and really a pleasure to see.
The director manages to create tension at every opportunity; the underwater setting immediately makes you feel isolated and at risk. As the situation intensifies and the stakes become higher, I can feel the desperation of the characters trying to overcome the obstacles placed before them.
I also think the camera work has been done fantastically because it makes you feel part of the scenes. At one point Bud swims under the rig without any equipment and I could feel myself holding my breath with him as he experiences the desperation of travelling through freezing water whilst running out of air.
I really liked Ed Harris's performance as Bud, he made his character likable even though he was stubborn and argumentative and a little rude to his ex-wife. Lindsay was also well portrayed by Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio; she made her quite tough and intimidating but gentle and sincere at the same time.
Michael Biehn also gave a great performance as Coffey, he was good throughout but his final scenes were particularly memorable. I didn't find the rest of the cast that great as they seemed to take attention away from the already busy storylines.
Overall, I really liked this film; it had love, action and Sci-Fi. The story was great and although quite long at 2 hours 30, it never really got boring. I found the characters interesting, the special effects and scenery amazing and the story encapsulating. This is currently available on Amazon for £3.16 and is a 15 certificate.
Deep sea thrills galore in this epic of a film from director James Cameron (Terminator 2, Aliens and Titanic are some of his other blockbuster films). Set underwater, a civilian oil-rig crew are recruited to conduct a search and rescue mission when an American nuclear submarine sinks after an incident. The oil rig crew are assigned the task of first finding and then rescuing any survivors (they had been recruited as the Navy's own rescue vessels would not be able to get there in time). Top class performances from Ed Harris (in my opinion one of the most underrated actors of his time), Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio and Michael Biehn. Whilst conducting their mission strange and mysterious forces with the power to manipulate and control the forces of water appear to add a whole new dimension to the film (this is not a disaster movie). Once discovered this turns into a battle between Ed Harris (and crew) and Michael Biehn - one wants to destroy the mysterious entity whilst the other saving it. Spectacular underwater odyssey and for a film 20 years old it really has aged well. This is not an action-packed movie by any means but it is a great movie to sit back and relax and enjoy a whole new underwater dimension.
James Cameron may well be most celebrated for his sublime action films, The Terminator, Terminator 2, Aliens, and the newly released Avatar, but one of his most groundbreaking and ahead-of-its-time films has to be The Abyss, which is also probably his least-known film. It has all of the trademark elements of a Cameron film: great actors, a fun script, sublime visual effects, and an imaginative sense of wonder.
The film has a deep-sea salvage crew being sequestered to help try and salvage a sub that was destroyed, presumably by the Russians. Thus, leader Virgil 'Bud' Brigman (Ed Harris), and his crew, including his ex-wife Lindsey Brigman (Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio), have to team up with ruthless Navy SEAL Hiram Coffey (Terminator's Kyle Reese, Michael Biehn) to try and perform the rescue, but their intentions are wholly different. However, to say much more than that is to reveal a nature of the film that's best going in blind to.
What can be said about The Abyss? Well, firstly, make sure you watch the 171-minute Director's Cut for the most complete and interesting version of the film. This will mean some will find it a slog, but for those interested in the genre and those who love Cameron's work, this should be rewarding more than snoozy.
The film is most notable for its excellent visual effects, which were very much ahead of their time, and without detailing their nature, are very imaginative and beyond anything that cinema had seen in 1989. Combine this with Cameron's typical love of machinery (this time underwater), a strong female protagonist, and a man vs nature commentary, and you get something as compelling as anything he has made.
Arguably it does go off the rails a bit with its heavy-handed commentary on humanity by the end, but it is genuine and even a little affecting, a quality that all of his films manage in some way or another. While perhaps a minor entry for such a grand filmmaker, it affirms his status as a visionary while being a masterpiece of the genre.
The Abyss is a Science Fiction Fantasy Directed by James Cameron and Starring Ed Harris and Mary Elizabeth monstrantonio as and warring couple sent under the sea to help rescue a sub which is at the bottom of the sea.
Harris plays a rig foreman who with his ex learn of otherworldly life and must lead his team as things around him are not what they seem. With his ex in tow sparks fly as they rush to solve whats going on before interference from the navy.
The film is a masterpiece with well drawn out characters inhabiting our screens. Ed harris is a solid lead and his character keeps you rooted throughout the experience. The Aliens are a great treat att he end of the movie and the effects stand up with todays offerings. The oceon scenes are claustraphopic and the production value look incredible on a big screen.
The Dvd has some great offerings with a a directors cut option to choose from and a documenary on special effects its worth the buy for the package alone. The commentrys are great with pop ups explaining the creation of the special effects
A great early sci fi.
James Cameron made this underwater epic in 1989... a full eight years before he took us back to the water in 1997's Titanic.
I have always rated The Abyss very much over and above Titanic - although they are very different movies.
In The Abyss the action starts when an American nuclear submarine, the USS Montana has an encounter with an unknown underwater object. The initial reaction is that it is an enemy submarine - perhaps even a Russian craft. As the object passes over the Montana, bathing it in ethereal purple light, the power and guidance systems all cut out temporarily. As the power returns, the crew of the Montana realise with horror that they are about to slam into a rock face. As the Montana smashes down, filling with water a distress beacon is launched to the ocean surface - too late for the drowning crew.
Nearby, Virgil "Bud" Brigman (Ed Harris) is over-seeing work on an underwater drilling platform when he is contacted by the US Navy with a mission that they believe he and his crew are the best hope. To transport the underwater rig and help locate and recover the Montana - as well as her lost nuclear payload.
As well as the tension below the surface, freak weather batters the world above as America and Russia are facing off on the very brink of World War III.
Bud's dilemma is made all the more difficult by the arrival of a team of Navy SEALS, led by Lt. Hiram Coffey (James Cameron regular, Michael Biehn) with his estranged wife Lindsey Brigman (Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio) in tow. She is far from happy as she designed the rig and feels that she should have the final say on whether or not it is used for the mission.
Things go from bad to worse as Lt. Coffey begins to lose the plot due to the extreme pressure beneath the waves. Just as the cause of the submarine crash becomes apparent. There are aliens at the bottom of the ocean - which we eventually learn are not a threat to us - with a potential apocalypse on the verge of being unleashed above, why would they have to be?
Lt. Coffey in an increasingly paranoid state sees the alien life forms as a danger and begins to have other thoughts about the recovered nuclear warheads...
Meanwhile will Bud and Lindsey make amends and get back together amid the chaos beneath and above the ocean? Will Coffey create his own armageddon before the feuding nations above can unleash theirs?
What ensues is a breath-taking and at times very tense roller-coaster ride of a movie. Between the thrills are lots of memorable moments that will make you laugh, make you think and leave you genuinely touched.
The acting in The Abyss is absolutely incredible. It's one of those rare films where you actually care about the characters - from the main characters to the background crew of the rig. Among them are a crew member who has a pet rat - which is used in a very controversial scene where a Navy SEAL demonstrates a thick pink liquid that you breath underwater so that you can dive even deeper without succumbing to the pressure of the water. Apparently this breathable liquid is real and the rat is held under this liquid in the film - all on camera as it initially panics but then breathes the liquid with relative ease. This scene has been practically removed from the UK version of the film as it was feared the rat was shown in serious distress. That said the film is available uncut from other Region 2 areas of Europe or Region 1 American for those who have a multi-region player.
The two-disc version of The Abyss is definitely the version to go for. The first disc has both the theatrical cut of the film as well as Cameron's 'director's cut' which is an incredible 28 minutes longer and adds a lot of extra weight and story to an already formidable movie experience. I wouldn't want to spoil the film for anyone who still hasn't seen this film - but all I can say is that the finale of the film is so much better in the extended cut - delivering awe and emotion in a fantastic conclusion.
The second disc has a huge amount of extras including "Under Pressure: The Making Of The Abyss" as well as eight making of featurettes which detail the amount of work that went into this great film.
There are also other extras including a special effects show-reel that was submitted to the Oscar nominiations board (it actually won the Oscar for best visual effects in 1990), trailers, TV spots, original storyboards (773 in all!), cast & crew bios, photo and artwork galleries and so much more!
As if this movie was not value for money alone, the extras on the second disc make it well worth investing in. If you never seen The Abyss, maybe it's about time you did. If you have already seen The Abyss, maybe it's about time you re-discovered "A place on earth more awesome than anywhere in space"...
After giving us Terminator (aliens from the future) and Aliens (aliens in space), in 1989 James Cameron decided to takes his theme to a new location and the setting for Abyss is entirely underwater. Its not a new idea, but out of all the attempts at this type of horror/sci-fi, this is undoubtedly the best. This time however the film is set in the totally recognisable world of the present day and comes complete with a moral message regarding humanity.
The film opens with us being introduced to the crew of a civilian underwater drilling rig, a bunch of experts and oddballs under the leadership of Virgil "Bud" Brigman played by the excellent Ed Harris. News reaches them that a US submarine has been lost on the edge of an abyss and with a violent storm moving in they are the only place a successful rescue attempt can be launched from. After being joined by a team of navy SEALs and the rigs designer, who happens to be the estranged Mrs Brigman, the storm closes in cutting all contact with the surface. The SEALs undisclosed mission is to ascertain the cause of the sinking and if necessary destroy the sub with one of its own nuclear missiles to prevent it from falling into Russian hands. In the meantime strange lights and happenings are seen, until finally it becomes clear that they are not alone under the sea, that there are NTIs, Non Terrestrial Intelligence. As the alien intelligence gets more familiar with the crew, the leader of the SEALs is slowly succumbing to pressure sickness and becoming not only irrational but also downright dangerous. In an attempt to save the situation which is spiralling out of control, Bud Brigman sets out on a dangerous mission. Will he save the day? why are the aliens here? will the navy destroy the sub? Only by watching the film will you find the answer.
The logistics of shooting a film to look like its under the sea must have been a nightmare, but the end result is convincing with the necessary claustrophobic feel to it. The scenes outside the rig are well shot, as are the indoor pieces were a combination of lighting and the deep blues of the water create a fantastic backdrop, but its the aliens that make the film what it is. Close Encounters of The Third Kind set underwater is not a bad way to think of this film and the aliens, their vehicles and their technology compare well with the special effects of the former. Considering that this film is fifteen years old and special effects have come a long way, this film still rates highly on the "wow" factor. The all turn in admirable performances, Harris is solid as the crew boss, Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio is a convincing virago of a woman as his wife, and Michael Biehn is totally mesmerising as the navy SEAL cracking under the pressure.
ONe word of warning is that you should not even entertain any thought of watching any other version but the directors cut. Cameron himself admitted that the original cuts made by the studio caused the film not to resolve the plot fully and you will be left knowing how the story ends but not why. In the full version, the one that the producer says is the film as it should have originally been released, the moral message comes home and the reasons for the alien presence is better explained. This version is a bit long at 171 minutes but worth the time invested in it.
If you are a fan of his other films, the likes of Alien, Blade Runner, Close Encounters or good sci-fi in general then this is for you. It has a solid story, good special effects and a cast who bring home a memorable performance and even by today's standards remains a classic sci-fi movie. Take the plunge, you wont regret it.
How would you like to see a great film, which has a little bit of everything in it, with the choice of watching the original or extended version, with loads of extra?s on the DVD?, interested?, then perhaps you should take a look at The Abyss DVD. ~~The Abyss - The Film~~ The Abyss was made in 1989, it stars Ed Harris, Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio and Michael Biehn. This Twentieth Century Fox film was written and directed by James Cameron, produced by Gale Anne Hurd, and rated 15, for the UK. Its 163 minutes in length - but that?s just one of the versions. ~~Plot~~ The film begins with a US submarine experiencing a loss of power and crashing. Due to a storm the only hope of rescuing survivors and checking the nuclear arms haven?t been damaged, are a bunch of oil rig workers on the first test underwater oil rig. Everything is not as it seems - the oil rigs? designer goes along for the ride, much to the annoyance of her estranged husband who works on the rig. An unknown lifeform makes an appearance, and - cut of from his chain of command the navy SEALs commander starts to behave a little oddly. With a nuclear weapon, a gigantic chasm and a storm on the way, you get the feeling not all is not going to go to plan. ~~My Opinion Of The Film~~ I wanted a great Saturday night kind of film, something you can really sit back and enjoy, and I got it. Its one of those films where you don?t notice the time passing because there?s so much to keep you interested, various aspects of the plot - just when you think you know what?s its all about, something happens you didn?t expect and opens up a whole new area of interest. There?s all the underwater shots, they look superb and are fascinating to watch. A large percentage of computer graphics in films these days, you can tell its not real, it doesn?t look genuine, and so fails to fully come across to you. Though there are computer graphics in The Abyss, it seems there is very li
ttle, it was filmed in huge water tanks, so what you see is real, and what isn?t real is model work, so it looks good and more importantly, believable. The plot is quite original, going back to the various aspects of the film, what you have is a space film - but not, a disaster movie, a love story, a social comment movie, a great action film and a sci-fi film all rolled up into one. On first thoughts you might think that this would be too much to handle in one movie, but think again, its another great achievement for this film, because it handles them all so well. In watching a good disaster movie you should be all tensed up, watching your heroes battling all odds and wanting to see them escape alive. In The Abyss, with it being set underwater, it succeeds at this spectacularly, the threat of danger is ever present, and you really feel the pressure. The sci-fi element doesn?t really come into effect until the end, when I first saw this film, I wondered why they spoiled an extremely good and well made film, by putting a load of sci-fi stuff in it. Well the sci-fi stuff is where the social comment comes into play, and its isn?t bug eyed monster stuff, its very adult, intelligent and its low key which is why it only adds to the quality of the film. The fact that this is such a diverse film makes it more appealing to a wider range of people. Its well acted, believable, it has a good script, and doesn?t disappoint. There are some great moments, some of which are really heartfelt, and its a film that stands out from the rest, because its not quite like anything else. ~~The Abyss - The DVD~~ It cost me £22.99 from MVC, a little more than I wanted to pay but still, for what you get, its pretty good, and at the time, it was a treat. Recently its been on sale, for £9.99, typical isn?t it, the only difference is that mine came in a cardboard case, whereas the sale one is a plastic one. There are two DVD?s, one with th
e two film versions, and the other with all the other extra?s. ~~Extra?s~~ Original theatrical, and special extended edition versions of the film, Text commentary (for both versions), 12 page booklet, Trailers, Behind the scenes, Documentary, Original screenplay, Featutette, Special effects reel, Photo gallery, Cast biographies, Mutli angle shots. ~~My Opinion Of The DVD~~ Well I only bought it because it looked like such a good DVD, and it is. The only drawback is the card board cover, which is easily damaged otherwise, if you get the plastic case then nothing at all. The 12 page booklet is good, a little disappointing though, you kind of expect a lot of info about the film and such but in fact its just the restoration notes telling you what bits were reinstated and where, which is great if, like me, you love this kind of info, of course its very interesting as well. Also are the chapter list of both film versions and the documentary. The menus are great on these discs, they?ve really taken the time to produce a good DVD, they?re animated and look like part of the oil rig, its a really nice touch, you really feel like you?ve got something special. The extras are fantastic, not just the quantity, but standard. Talking about quantity, the back cover doesn?t do the DVD justice because there are loads of bits and pieces. Included are, bits of behind the scenes stuff, the model work, the original screen play, photos, cast biographies and so on, its all great and very interesting stuff. If you love this film you?ll be in heaven with this DVD, you find out so much stuff. The multi angle shots are interesting, you see the film with the actors acting with nothing to react to - as the effects have to added later, its odd to see, but it makes you appreciate how good the actors are, because the end result is so convincing. There is a time lapse video showing the construction of the set, and
you have to speed t hat up to really take it in, they did so much work, and built such a huge set - another example of how well they made this film. The Making of The Abyss, and the featurette are both great, a good insight into how the film was made - you just don?t realise what goes into making them, with all the other extras on this DVD you get to see how many different ways and methods of film making they used to create all the different shots. All the underwater shots they filmed, how difficult and dangerous it was - and it really was. You learn a lot about what went on in the production of the film, there?s stuff I?d love to tell you, but if you want the DVD I won?t spoil it for you, but trust me its fantastic. The featurette is 10 minutes long, but the documentary lasts around hour, you really get your money?s worth. In writing this opinion I found some inaccuracies in the running time of the film. The booklet says that the original film was 140 minutes long, and the special edition has 28 minutes of reinstated footage with 3 minutes of expended credits, being 171 minutes in total. Actually, and as the cover states the extended version is 163 minutes long, the cover also states that only 24 minutes has been reinstated. As far as I can tell, the original was/is actually 138 minutes long with 9 minutes of credits, the special edition is 163 minutes including only 7 minutes of credits, so its 25 minutes longer. Discluding the credits your getting about 27 minutes of extra footage (I love maths). ~~Conclusion~~ This is everything a DVD should be, a really good film, with both original and extended versions, well presented, with great animated menus. Also a nice booklet, a terrific amount of good extra?s, and well packaged, What more could you want in a DVD?. OK, so I have seen this film before, but having the special edition its even more enjoyable, because there?s a whole sub plot that was cut out, t
hat you now get to see, that b rings a new edge to the film and of course a couple of things make a bit more sense. For what you get, the price is good, I kind of feel that this is what DVD was made for, that is, well made outstanding films, well presented with everything they can find to make a good DVD. So why not like me, and treat yourself to The Abyss DVD. The Solid Grey
Having recently watched “The Abyss” for the first time on TV the other day I thought I’d review it for all you fellow Internet addicts out there! Yes, that includes you. You know who you are! Before I delve into my personal view of the film, here’s the boring bits: -------------- ~ Starring ~ -------------- Ed Harris as Virgil ‘Bud’ Brigman Mary Mastrantonio as Lindsey Brigman Michael Biehn as Lieutenant Coffey Todd Graff as Alain ‘Hippy’ Cames ----------- ~ Crew ~ ----------- James Cameron – director Gale Anne Hurd – producer -------------------- ~ Release date ~ -------------------- 8th September 1989 --------------- ~ Runtime ~ --------------- 166 minutes -------------- ~ Genres ~ -------------- Thriller, adventure, action, sci-fi/fantasy. ------------- ~ Rating ~ ------------- PG ---------------- ~ Synopsis ~ ---------------- Basically “The Abyss” revolves around a group of civilian divers. A nuclear submarine is going about its daily business when something strange passes by, cutting out the electricity on the way and causing the submarine to crash into some rocks. The United States send in the divers to rescue any surviving crew members on the nuclear submarine. This film is a bit like Alien, ok, so maybe its nothing like it. Basically what I meant to make clear is that it involves USO’s (in case you are wondering whether I made a typo, USO’s = Unidentified Swimming Objects!). Its vaguely like the Alien movies with a splash of X-Files. The only major difference is that practically the whole film is based under water (as you may expect as it involves submarines!). Of course no film is a film without a bit of romance (or a lack of to make it more accurate for this fil
m). You see Virgil ‘Bud’ Brigman and Lindsey Brigman are married (not happily mind you). They both have issues to sort out. They are both drafted in to help the Navy SEAL with this top-secret recovery mission. As no film is complete without romance or an ex-romance, no film is complete without a psycho. Don’t fret. This film has one of those too. He starts to go round the bends from about half way through the movie, it builds to a climax but as you might expect, everything turns out ok in the end. ~ So, is the film worth watching? ~ Well, considering it was made in 1989 the graphics are great. I was highly surprised when I first noticed it was made in 1989. I didn’t realise until after the film it was so old and I never guessed once whilst watching it. The film was actually made in a former nuclear plant which housed the biggest submerged movie set ever built. The film was directed and filmed from underwater practically all the way through. This leads to a really realistic feel to the film. With it being in the depths of the ocean you can expect this film to be pretty dull and dreary. Don’t less this put you off though because it isn’t all dull, there are some brighter scenes in the film too to brighten it up. All in all I’d highly recommend the film, I don’t really have any major faults with the film. So, to conclude: ------------------- ~ Good points ~ ------------------- § Great graphics, especially when you consider it was made in 1989. § Due to the film being filmed and directed almost entirely underwater it really does give you an underwater feel, even slightly claustrophobic (so watch out those who suffer from claustrophobia!) § The actual scenes of the aliens involve pretty good computer graphics (again, remember it was 1989). They must be good because don’t forget I didn’t e
ven realise the film was particularly old until after! § The aliens are nice and friendly in this film, its always nice to see friendly aliens! § The film doesn’t get too wrapped up in the romance side of things. I can’t stand films that seem to completely side-track the initial theme and delve into the love-lives of the characters too much. ----------------- ~ Bad points ~ ----------------- § At first I thought the film was a bit of a slow starter. Do stick with it though it is worth it and after the first 20 minutes or so the film improves rapidly. Plus, if it wasn’t for the first 20 minutes you’d be a bit lost as far as the story line goes. § Part of the film involves breathing fluid in order to allow Virgil ‘Bud’ Brigman to dive very deep. This, in itself, makes for a very good scene but previous to this scene one of the crew’s pet rat is made to breath this fluid to prove it works. This rat was indeed immersed in this fluid and made to breath it for quite a few minutes. Don’t get me wrong, I know the rat came out alive. Think about it though. It must be a very strange and non-too pleasant experience being made to breath in fluid mustn’t it? This poor rat didn’t have a choice in the matter. It may seem petty to non-animal lovers but to me that was a completely unnecessary scene. If you decide you’d like your own copy of this you can buy from Amazon.co.uk. A VHS copy will set you back £13.49 while a DVD copy will set you back £23.74. That seems a bit steep to me but that’s what the site says! ---------------- ~ More info ~ ---------------- If you’re into reading scripts check out: http://www.ike.co.kr/abyss.txt Other sites: http://www.hollywood.com/movies/detail/movie/177565 http://www.reel.com/movie.asp?MID=5 http://www.musicians
Starring Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio and Michael Biehn (Could they have possibly chosen actors with harder to spell names?), this film was a hit for me when I saw the original theatrical edition many moons ago in 1989. Occasionally I buy a DVD just to own and keep it, and this was one of them. I didn't even watch it until a few weeks ago, thinking that it would be like most "Special Editions" much the same as the original. What a fool I was! The following concentrates on the Special Edition DVD, rather than the movie itself: I don't understand how filmmakers can allow such excellent footage to be left on the cutting-room floor. This special edition is SPECIAL! The one DVD allows the playing of both versions (original or extended) simply by selecting the version from the main menu. Navigation of the second disc is Abyss-mal, and its contents did not strike me as a big value-add, so I'm excluding it from this opinion, as it is not a necessary part of the movie. The re-extended version simply adds in so much more feeling to the movie, giving more time in the 30 minutes of extra footage to get a closer to the characters? inter-relationships. The key message that was missing from the original is that "mankind may yet have the selflessness needed to avoid destruction" and it is clearly and obviously restored in this version. (Quote is from special edition notes) They were proud enough of their achievements in the special edition that even the credits were extended and re-scored giving the film a running time of 171 minutes!!! By far the best single extension/restoration is in the last 20 minutes of the movie involving the inhabitants of "Atlantis" (Referred to as the "Ark" by the filmmakers) - Their abilities, some of their technology and their methods of communication are so much clearer. Some people might not like this level of "obviousness" in a movie, but aft
er 2+ hours, I don?t want to be left guessing too much. An excellent Underwater Sci-Fi romp in Hollywood style (ie. Including mandatory a) Romance b) Explosions and c) Running fights of one sort or another.) Enhanced with superb (and at the time quite unique) special effects, which survive through to today to remain visually spectacular. Can you tell I liked it? :-)
It comes to a point where you realise that there are some directors whose movies you really do not like. Whilst generally I can find a couple of movies in a director's back catalogue that spring to mind as being 'good' I have a problem saying the same with the director of this movie. James Cameron is as high profile as they come in the movie world and yet, for me, produces nothing but big budget trash, time and time again. I hated the abysmal dirge that was Titanic for example, and here with The Abyss, again showered with awards and nominations, I think he missed the boat once more. Was this really the same guy who directed Aliens? Well aparentley so, but you'd be pushed to see any of the same kind of talent at work here... The Abyss is as simple as it is complicated in its plot. Putting aside all the ex-wives, love interests and everything else ths movie throws at you to overcomplicate matters amd blind you as to how weak it is, the plot is simply this: The movie opens with a US nuclear submarine tracking something strange on their sonar. This unidentifiable object gets tracked all the way below deck inside the submarine, where its alien presence caused a mass panic to ensue amongst the crew. Stricken by the panicing crewmen the sub sinks to the ocean floor, to lie on the edge of a deep abyss. In comes a team of oil riggers to try to attempt a rescue and a team of navy underwater experts who are more than a little concerned about the sub's nuclear payload. They try to rescue the sub which slips closer and closer to the edge fo the abyss and nuclear disaster and again the alien prescence makes itself know... Sounds interesting, and yes it could have been were Cameron not content to sit on his lazy ass and recycle elements of Jaws, E.T. and Close Encounters all over the place. I think we were meant to oooh and ahhhh at the special effects here just as we were with Spielberg's CE offering, but to be fair, its nothin
g special now to see such effects. The movies it tries to ape had two major things going for them which set them apart from the crowd and justified their status...suspense and emotional impact. The Abyss has special effects and nice sets and little else. I found myself bored by halfway and although the alien effects are good and it all looks very nice, if I wanted eye candy I would have gone to a gallery. I wanted movie entertainment and I certainly didn't find it here. I am so fed up with being conned by special effects at the expense of good movie making and Cameron is one of the leading culprits at the moment, blowing enormous budgets on a couple of scenes which become the selling point of a movie which is otherwise dead from the neck upwards. Shall we talk Titanic again? well, no need, ths movie is equally guilty. Take away the admittedly superb morphing water effects to create the friendly alien presence and you have a film which consists of nothing much at all. Sure, the acting is ok from the likes of Ed Harris, Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio and Michael Biehn and the camerawork etc is faultless, but The Abyss simply fails to deliver what matters most... ...Entertainment!!! However, thats just my opinion and I'm sure countless others would disagree...and I notice from the category setion here at Dooyoo that indeed they do disagree. But, go into it with your eyes open, this is a movie which relies deeeply on its sfx, ideas borrowed from other movies and a prayer that you, the audient, with be blinded by its lack of scripting, suspense or real drama. Its a good idea, but the execution is so weak...such a shame!
I have been an enormous fan of this film ever since I saw in it in 1989, even though at the time it was derided for its hokey ending, and never quite achieved the box-office domination clearly hoped for by all concerned. Interest in the film has remained constant; Ed Harris, Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio and other crew members have ensured its notoriety with tales of Cameron’s near-insane directorial style and the risks they were forced to endure in shooting; the initial release, cut against Cameron’s wishes was overturned and a ‘special edition’ was released in 1994, and most crucially, critics and audiences have gradually reassessed what was a magnificent piece of action film-making. The combination of magnificent cinematography, superb direction, outstanding special effects (even the first real use of the now predomininant CGI effects) and some wonderful performances make this a landmark – if only the Bruckheimer / Bay camp of action spectaculars which now dominate could have a measure of this film’s classic style and human core. If you haven’t seen it yet, buy this DVD, you’ll be seeing it under near-perfect conditions. The story – deep-sea oil drillers go on a rescue mission to save a crashed nuclear sub only to find that they are about to make contact with an alien species – is OK, but it is rounded out with a catalogue of disasters (hurricanes, mad marines, the near-outbreak of World War III on the surface) which make it enormously compelling. The Picture and Sound Beautiful – this is a gorgeously photographed film which looks absolutely wonderful in a widescreen 2.35:1 ratio, and the soundtrack has been remastered in THX, which is the George Lucas super-sound system. I don’t pretend to understand these things all that well, but the film sounds magnificent. Disc 1 - The Films Disc one contains both completed cuts of the film, the origi
nal release version and the ‘special edition’. This second one contains a lot more material, including the whole tidal wave subplot. The original version is faster and more self-contained, the second more expansive and ambitious, but more sentimental – in particular, it contains more of the horrible sickly monologue Mastrantonio delivers while Harris is doing his big final dive, which virtually everyone agrees is the worst aspect of the film anyway. I think I could make an ‘ultimate version’ using elements from both, but no-one’s going to ask me to do this, so suffice to say that to have the choice is an excellent edition. No commentary here, which is disappointing, as Cameron has always shown a willingness to talk about his work. The documentary about the making of ‘The Abyss’ is slightly less forceful than some crew-members might be about conditions, but it is nevertheless an excellent behind-the-scenes look at the making of the film. The 10 minute featurette is less interesting. Disc 2 – Additional material The second disc is divided into two sections: 1) Personnel locker This is the biographies section. For a change the biographies are extremely detailed and there is alos information about the costumes, how dialogue was recorded underwater and other very interesting written material. 2) Imaging station This contains the video material, and is one of the most impressive collections of behind-the-scenes footage I have seen anywhere. The contents include Cameron’s entire shooting script – I haven’t read all of this, but it is fascinating to dip in and out of it. Better yet, you can compare it to the original story treatment, and all 773 storyboards which map out the film is drawn form. This is simply outstanding, not some garbage thrown together but the structure of how the film was written and conceived before it was shot. <
br>But equally important are the series of sequences from the film’s creation – a look at the bit where the bridge of the sinking sub is flooded, a time-lapse film shrinking the months it took to build the Deep Core set into seven minutes, shots of the miniature effects of mini-subs and collapsing cranes being created (including one superb view of the film’s giant Navy ships, revealed as models little bigger than a bathtime toy) and a special sequence which deconstructs the ‘pseudopod sequence’. In the movie, a water tentacle explores the ship, and this sequence allows you to use the angle button to swap between the actual movie, the storyboards and dailies with temporary effects. Quite simply, this is what I want when I pay more than £20 for a DVD. Not the arrant rip-off of the ‘2001’ collector’s edition (no, I don’t want to pay £35 just to get the soundtrack thanks), but two discs positively bulging with interesting extra material that give me an insight into how one of my favourite films was made. This is excellent stuff, and should be the benchmark for subsequent DVD releases.
Cast listing: Ed Harris .... Virgil "Bud" Brigman Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio .... Lindsey Brigman Michael Biehn .... Lieutenant Hiram Coffey Leo Burmester .... Catfish De Vries Todd Graff .... Alan "Hippy" Carnes John Bedford Lloyd .... Jammer Willis J.C. Quinn .... "Sonny" Dawson Kimberly Scott (I) .... Lisa "One Night" Standing Captain Kidd Brewer Jr. .... Lew Finler George Robert Klek .... Wilhite Christopher Murphy (I) .... Schoenick Adam Nelson (I) .... Ensign Monk Dick Warlock .... Dwight Perry Jimmie Ray Weeks .... Leland McBride J. Kenneth Campbell .... DeMarco This film has got it all. A love story, action, adventure, nuclear weapons, aliens and a happy ending. The basic idea is that there is a big underwater mining rig that runs into problems. If I were to say what happened after that then it would spoil some of the surprises that the film has to offer, but it is worth the effort. There is a love interest in there, action if that`s what you want. Good special effects (amazing water effects!) and a good interesting plot. If you like any of Camerons other work then give this a try. If you`ve never seen anything by him (doubtful, but you never know :-) ) then you could do a lot worse than ive this a try.
Some DVD?s are rushed out, and as a result only generate moderate sales, while others get given the time and effort, and hit the carts and take it by storm, and despite the age of this film, the latter certainly applies to this DVD ? The Abyss is certainly a DVD every film fan should own! Running for 139 and 163 minutes , two times are given due to the very nature of this DVD and the fact it contains two versions of this quality movie in both the regular version and the special edition. At 0922 local time a US nuclear sub, the USS Montana with 156 men on board went down about 22 miles from where the crew of the Deep core are working and they're being asked to team up with a bunch of Navy SEAL officers to dig them out in a rescue mission of the highest order. Part of this rescue mission brings together estranged, warring couple oil-rig foreman Bud Brigman (Ed Harris) and his bossy other half Lindsey (Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio (god only knows if I spelt that correctly!)). Together with SEAL team leader Lieutenant Hiram Coffey (Michael Biehn) they'll head off "two and a half miles straight down" to see what they can see, where we'll learn that not all is as it seems, and something is certainly down there other then human remains! Without giving too much of this film away, they uncover an alien life form, that continues to supervise right the way throughout the film While the film is released on a DVD two disk set that is acclaimed to be one of the best releases available on DVD (and in fact it is), its far from perfect. Presented in an aspect ratio of 2.35:1, where is the problem I hear you say! Well, its non-Anamorphic for a start, meaning he picture quality suffers as a result, quite noticeably at times. However, where the picture slightly fails, the audio goes from strength to strength and the sound on this disk is simply astounding. The sound never fails to impress in the remastered Dolby Digital
5.1 soundtrack whether it's the aliens appearing, heavy breathing inside the helmets or the general ambience of the underwater life, everything is perfect, which includes great use of the LFE channel, almost constant use of the rear surrounds and front all work in wonderful harmony that make this sound track something special and a cut above most others. Extras on this highly impressive DVD include the following: * Multi-angles of Pseudo-pod Sequence (a nice addition) * Original Theatrical Version, * Featurette, * Special Effects Reel, * Special Edition Version, * Text Commentary, * 12-page booklet, * Cast Biographies, * Trailers, * Behind-the-scenes footage, * Documentary: "Under Pressure: Making The Abyss", * Original Screenplay, * Photo Gallery, And some more, although oddly enough, the DVD-Rom content (usually waffle of little use) has been dropped from this version, but is present on the R4 and R1 releases?Quite why they would do this, I do not know, but hardly a major disappointment. However, other extras deleted are of more significance, and just goes to show how good the R1 version of this disk is, even compared to the region two release! OVERALL To sum up, this is a very entertaining movie on an even better DVD. Right at the top o the region 2 release list in terms of quality and content, this is a delightful film on and delightful DVD. However, the lack of features compared to the region 1 equivalent (all to familiar I am afraid) cannot help but leave a slightly bitter taste in the moth, and if you have access and can play region 1 DVD?s that is the one to go for. If not, then you will still have a great film on a great DVD.
A classic sci-fi/underwater action movie, gets the DVD treatment it deserves in the release of the Special Edition 2 disk DVD. You have the choice of watching the movie in it's original form, or with the massive, plot changing, 24 minutes of extra footage that was removed from the original release. Extras (on disk 2) include the now normal trailers, cast biographys, and photo gallary, but with the addition of a documentary, a featurette, and a special effect reel used to showcase the film at a movie award. Included in the package is a 12 page booklet, very useful in finding the added scenes, as it provide details of exactly what has been added in what chapter. The film itself doesn't need an opinion, it is a classic, and almost everyone has, or should have seen it by now, and the DVD is a "must add" to any collection.
Meticulously crafted but also ponderous and predictable, James Cameron's 1989 deep-sea close-encounter epic reaffirms one of the oldest first principles of cinema: everything moves a lot more slowly underwater. Ed Harris and Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio, as formerly married petroleum engineers who still have some "issues" to work out, are drafted to assist a gung-ho Navy SEAL (Michael Biehn) with a top- secret recovery operation: a nuclear sub has been ambushed and sunk, under mysterious circumstances, in some of the deepest waters on earth, and the petro-techies have the only submersible craft capable of diving down that far. Every image and every performance is painstakingly sharp and detailed (and the computerised water creatures are lovely) but the movie's lumbering pace is ultimately lethal. It's the audience that ends up feeling waterlogged. For a guy who likes guns as much as Cameron (his next film after all, was the body-count masterpiece Terminator 2: Judgment Day), it's interesting that the moral balance here is weighted heavily in favour of the can-do engineers; the military types are end-justifies-the-means amoralists, just like the weasely government bureaucrats in Aliens. --David Chute