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 The Abyss 

What grade would you give this film?
A 55%  55%  [ 6 ]
B 45%  45%  [ 5 ]
C 0%  0%  [ 0 ]
D 0%  0%  [ 0 ]
F 0%  0%  [ 0 ]
Total votes : 11

 The Abyss 
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Post The Abyss
The Abyss


The Abyss is a 1989 science fiction film written and directed by James Cameron. It stars Ed Harris, Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio, and Michael Biehn. The original musical score was composed by Alan Silvestri. It was released on August 9, 1989 in North America.

Underwater scenes were filmed in the containment building of Cherokee Nuclear Power Plant, an unfinished nuclear power plant on Owensby Road, near Gaffney, South Carolina, in the United States. It took seven million gallons (26.5 million liters) of water to fill the tank to a depth of 40 feet (12 m), making it the largest underwater filming set ever constructed. The depth and length of time spent underwater meant that the cast and crew sometimes had to go through decompression. Filming was also done at the largest underground lake in the world — a mine in Bonne Terre, Missouri, which was the background for several underwater shots.

Tue Apr 17, 2007 7:10 am
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As an early CGI showcase its an absolute wonder. As a coherent piece of storytelling its a bit of a mess. And the scene with Ed Harris trying to save his former wife from death by drowning is easily the most drawn out piece of inevitability a person is ever likely to see.

The pretty images just about keep me entertained though.


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Tue Apr 17, 2007 9:55 am
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Watching the special edition, the story's even more of a mess. There's an added ending with giant waves that, while looking cool, adds another subplot into a movie chock full of them. At nearly three hours long, it gets to be a bit much. The original version has the same problems, though. There's a love story, a disaster flick, an alien contact film, and an anti-Cold War message all trying to get out of this movie, and none of them mesh together very well. The visuals are very impressive, but also just seem to be attempting to mimic Close Encounters - underwater. Ed Harris is overacting a bit, but nothing compared to Michael Biehn, who finds the scenery so damn tasty. Still, it's well-made, and the scene with the water arm is classic.

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Last edited by trixster on Fri Aug 01, 2008 7:39 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Tue Apr 17, 2007 7:44 pm
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Good film. I enjoyed the sci/fi aspects but nearly all of the dramatic elements came up short.


Thu Apr 19, 2007 4:24 pm
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It's really, really good in either version. The only fault, I think, is that its too ambitious. I wish more movies were guilty of that.


Thu Apr 19, 2007 7:55 pm
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I think in terms of individual scenes, It's one of Cameron's best directed and shot films. The bodies in the sub, the crane fall and surviving the sub crushing in on itself, the candle in the dark sequence, the image of the tidal wave, the first encounter with the alien and when it comes into the ship, the fight and race with Biehn over BigGeek, and in general just the gaping shots of them navigating the seascape... all absolutely perfectly, perfectly executed scenes. It's no surprise those scenes are when the film is being most simple, with the narrative of the scene having a single goal, and the images telling the story more than the dialog.

Much like his other films, the core of the movie is in the basic human story, the Bud-Lindsey relationship really strings the film together, both characters being believable and likeable. I think Mastrantonio gives one of the better performances in Cameron's library, actually. Biehn is also as always, pretty great. I thought the human drama on the boat slowed down a bit in the middle between the crash and Biehn setting off BigGeek, but it got itself together again later.

I liked how for once, the goal is to save the alien from humans, not the other way around. And again I love the scene where "he" comes into the sub. I also thought that for a 3 hour movie (I saw the S.E.), I never really felt the length. Good filmmakers do that.

It's definitely not perfect though. Trixster nailed a lot of the problems, the movie is like what would happen if someone tried to mix Das Boot, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Armageddon, and a preachy Cold War message into one film, and the mixture is at times jarring. And yet I still think it worked and would've been right up there with his best if not for the ending. I was soooooo ready for that wave to hit, it would've been the greatest ending in all film history ever, that wave was just so epic and beautiful... but then it pulls back and terribly spells out in the dialog a message we should've been left to figure out for ourselves... And then that combined with the conventional yay! Purple arc lifting! Everyone clap! He's not dead! Hollywood kiss! Yay! ending kind of left a bad taste in my mouth. I would also criticize the scene where Linda wakes up, but I liked her inclusion in the candle scene later, and it was pretty obvious from the get-go she would make it. And I liked the scene where she "drowned" a lot, just not the revival.

Anyways, it's certainly a worthy addition to JC's throne of greatness. If that wave hit, I probably would've called this an absolute masterpiece. As it stands, it's still most excellent if slightly flawed, but is a film I'll probably be re-watching in the future. I think I like it more than Aliens, actually.


Fri Aug 01, 2008 1:57 am
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Post Re: The Abyss
One of my all-time favorite movies. A

Fri Aug 01, 2008 6:31 am
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Post Re: The Abyss
I just watched the special edition which I've never seen before. These effects are over 20 years old, and they are awesome. The characters were believable for the most part, though there is some overacting in a few parts. The relationship between the Brigmans keeps the film together though. I didn't mind the preachy aspect too much. I thought the aliens communicating though TV images was an awesome addition, but the message typed in at the end was a bit much. I think most of the audience could have figured that out without it being shoved in our face. The super hollywood ending also brought it down just a bit. But it was still better than I remember, and the think the S.E. scenes actually makes it a little better.


Wed Apr 13, 2011 11:02 am
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Post Re: The Abyss
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Wed Apr 13, 2011 11:46 am
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Post Re: The Abyss
I just can't get through this movie for the life of me. Years and countless times its on TV but I just can't my interest for too long enough. Theres some really cool things mixed in with what feels like hours of filler.


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Thu Apr 14, 2011 12:43 pm
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