Rated PG-13 for language and some scenes of action
138 min /171 min (special edition)
Written and Directed By: James Cameron
Staring: Ed Harris, Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio, Michael Biehn, Todd Graffe, Leo Burmester, John Bedford Lloyd, and Kimberely Scott
You’re right, I don’t need to know, what I need to know is that THING is off this rig, do you hear me ROGER RAMJET?
The Abyss is another intricate story by James Cameron that has the exceptional talent of ground breaking special effects and an amazing tale with very intriguing character’s. The compelling conflicting elements of the movie stray away from your typical science fiction film, and really turns it into a dramatic story with very intense character’s having reasonable reactions to situations no one ever thought they’d be exposed to.
In the deepest parts of the sea a United States nuclear submarine loses contact with it’s country. A deep water drilling team is the closest underwater equipment to get to the sub at that depth. Because the U.S. is concerned the fate of the sub lies with the Russian government they send a Navy Seal team down along with underwater worlds creator, Lindsey Birgmen. The man in charge of the station is in the midst of a divorce with said creator. What they find near the sub is not at all what they expected, and with a hurricane above no one can get out.
The beginning conflict between Bud and Lindsey immediately creates a tension in an already highly elevated emotional situation. With the military interfering and making the situation even at greater risk the anxiety of the film reaches an excruciating plateau. What started as a nuclear attack has now coupled elements of man vs. nature, man vs. science, and man vs. the unknown. Each of these categories evokes a sense of mystery and natural curiosity that the viewer simply cannot escape.
Visually, The Abyss is absolutely brilliant to take in. The underwater shots are breath taking, but when the underground city rises to the surface there are few things in comparison as amazing as it. Special effects teams doing the most cutting edge work is gravy for a James Cameron film. It’s just expected now, and it’s because of movies like The Abyss.
A strong cast was recruited for this film and since so much of the story really relied on the character’s journey’s it became crucial to have the right people carry this story. Ed Harris as “Bud” was very strong as a leader, but also humble when necessary. His role really required a certain amount a diplomacy as he was often required to keep the military men at bay from Lindsey. Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio as the overzealous genius who started the whole project was strong and engaging, but when her character turned vulnerable, it was a huge factor in the change of the stories tones and the direction it went it. Her conflicting counterpart played by Micheal Biehn was pure and simply wicked. Playing a good guy gone psychotic is not a role I would have pictured him in, but he really reveled in it. His character was really representative of the films lesson. As Lindsey said, “People see what they want to see and Coffey sees Russians”.
The Abyss contains so many different elements of great film making. The amazing cross over themes and the morality lesson that hopefully won’t be lost on most, through the eyes of the unknown entity give the story so much more to work with than a simple alien adventure. This is one of those movies that should be considered a required watch to anyone who considers themselves a movie aficionado. The Abyss is elegant in it’s story telling, breath taking in it’s visuals, and entertaining in it’s special effects. An amazing addition to the world of cinema.