Las Vegas Film Society

The Abyss

Special Edition

TWENTIETH CENTURY FOX presents a GALE ANNE HURD production a JAMES CAMERON film THE ABYSS
ED HARRIS * MARY ELIZABETH MASTRANTONIO * MICHAEL BIEHN music by ALAN SILVESTRI production designer LESLIE DILLEY
director of photography MIKAEL SALOMON produced by GALE ANNE HURD written and directed by JAMES CAMERON

I've read that when James Cameron was selecting certain actors to be cast in this film, he'd personally show up with the script, sit there while they read it, take it back, then ask whether or not they wanted to be a part of the movie.

Seeing as how this movie originally ran in theatres in 1989, I can see why Cameron did that. The plot to this film is deep, the character building and interaction is genuine, and the idea is completely original. This film was produced by Gale Anne Hurd (of the Terminator fame, who later ended up marrying Cameron. The two are now divorced.) and the special effects are nothing short of spectacular.

Utilizing CGI for one of the first times ever, the Abyss helped pave the way for some of Cameron's following films (an obvious nod goes to Terminator 2, the same technology used for the water tenticle in the Abyss was used for the T-1000 in Terminator 2). The Abyss does a great job of mixing great acting, a great plot, and fabulous special effects. A solid winner all the way around.

The basic idea behind the Abyss is that during a botched mission to rescue a downed US nuclear ballistic submarine, contact is made with a strange new lifeform that has been living deep down on the ocean floor. The plot thickens when tensions between the US government and the (then) Soviet Union increase as the US tries to find someone to blame for the sinking of the sub. The story then gets even more complicated by a team of US NAVY seals with a crazed leader and the interference from the ocean dwellers.

To say anything more of the storyline would ruin the film going experience (for those who haven't yet seen the Abyss). If you can find it, the 'Special Edition' is definately the way to go. In addition to being in extreme widescreen (damn I hate pan and scan!), it also contains 28 minutes of additional footage that really helps the entire movie come together. I have no idea why the decision was made to remove these 28 minutes theatrically, as (like in Event Horizon), it could have made all the difference in the world at the box office.

I highly recommend the Abyss the next time you are at the video store and are in the moood for some great underwater sci-fi. The Abyss is Rated PG and runs approximately 171 minutes (for the special edition), 143 minutes for the theatrical version. There is brief frontal nudity in this film.

-The LVFS


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