The Abyss is a fun, exciting Cameron movie
James Cameron is one of the best action directors ever. He has made such hits as Terminator and Aliens. This time, he ventures into unchartered water (literally) and comes up with a hit just as good as Terminator and Aliens. The story is mysterious, eerie, and inventive. It uses state of the art effects in a way never thought of before.
The movie begins with a submarine crashing and everyone on board dying. Before they crash, they send up a beacon. The Navy finds it and uses an oil rig's crew, already underwater, to find it. They send down a smaller crew, led by Lindsay Brigman (Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio), which consists of some Navy Seals. She meets her husband down there, played by Ed Harris. The emotional connection at first is not strong but it develops over the movie. They are wonderful together.
During the search for survivors on the submarine, one of the crew sees a strange, mysterious light after his equipment goes dead. He gets so scared that he hits his oxygen tank on a door which puts him into a coma. What was it? We aren't sure at first. We find out little by little until we se it completely. It is beautiful. However, Lindsay, the one who saw it, can't make the others believe her.
What makes them believe is a wonderful scene. It is probably the best scene in the whole movie. I won't explain it thoroughly but I will say that it involves wonderful special effects and water. However, two Navy Seals, who have taken a nuclear weapon from the submarine, get nervous about it and "cut it off." The nuclear weapon part of the movie is the weakest point, though it provides for some great suspense.
When the Navy Seals attach the armed weapon to Big Geek, a tool for taking pictures without someone pressing a button, they send it into the abyss. Lindsay and Bud, her husband, try to rescue it but fail. However, they damaged the ship and a leak has sprung. This sequence is such a dramatic one and provides for very good suspense. Of course, someone has to go down and disarm the weapon and of course, Bud volunteers.
I always wondered if Ed Harris really had to breath the liquid oxygen, and I wondered how much they paid him for it. The descent into the abyss is a truely original scene and shows Cameron at his best. The connection between Harris and Mastrantonio is solid and becomes very realistic here as she tries to comfort Harris. I won't ruin the ending because it is remarkable and stunning. I expected Harris to live, but I didn't know how the creators were going to do it. The way they did is wonderful.
The Abyss is rated PG-13. It has some violence and some deaths. It also contains language, mostly referring to Lindsay. There is some nudity but it is very necessary because it makes it more realistic and heart-pounding. However, the story is wonderful, the acting is terrific, and the suspense is original. I found myself gripping my seat as the characters faced one challenge after another. Of course, the special effects help too.
**** out of ****
Reviews by Boyd Petrie