The Abyss
1989
When a nuclear submarine sinks, a team of divers descends the depths to determine the cause in this sci-fi thriller from writer-director James Cameron. But during the investigation, it becomes evident that an extraterrestrial power is at work. Led by Bud Brigman (Ed Harris), the crew includes Brigman's estranged wife (Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio) and a paranoid Navy lieutenant (Michael Biehn). The film scored an Oscar for Best Visual Effects.

Scott Hardie: “It ruled.”

I have heard great things about "The Abyss" for fifteen years, and as I see it now while trying to finish the James Cameron oeuvre, I am struck by how thoroughly it demonstrates his strengths and his weaknesses. For the latter, there is the human element: Many actors' chief complaint about Cameron is that he spends hours every day obsessing over the most minute details of the hardware on display in his films, but his direction to the cast is often as simple as "look scared." Luckily, he is wise at casting: Ed Harris and Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio are actors of undoubtable intelligence, who provide a foundation of believeability and sympathy in an ocean (forgive the pun) of fantastic concepts; like Sigourney Weaver and Kate Winslet, they carry the human element well enough that Cameron doesn't have to. Cameron's strength is in the extreme technical detail of his work; the payoff of his obsession is that these amazing, unfamiliar worlds feel totally real, as close to the real thing as the movies can get. In this film, the sensation of actually being at the bottom of the ocean aboard this industrial rig is remarkable, and it inspires fascination. If the science fiction element seems superfluous to the film, especially during the cliched and too-implausible ending, it's because Cameron has done the real-world stuff so impeccably well. This is not Cameron's best work, but it is pretty good, and carries my strong recommendation.

− date unknown • more by Scottlog in or create an account to reply

Want to join the discussion? Log in or create an account to reply.

write your own review of The Abyss


Other Movies from 1989

Sea of Love

Scott Hardie says, "It ruled." Go »

Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade

Scott Hardie says, "It ruled." Go »

Castle in the Sky

Scott Hardie says, "It was ok." Go »

No Place Like Home

Scott Hardie says, "It was ok." Go »

When Harry Met Sally...

Scott Hardie says, "It ruled." Go »

The War of the Roses

Scott Hardie says, "It was ok." Go »