Quick-Thoughts: James Cameron’s The Abyss (1989)

And thus, the T-1000 was born. 

The Abyss to me seems like James Cameron’s attempt to make his own iconic sci-fi, creature-feature tale in the vein of what Ridley Scott was able to accomplish in crafting Alien (1979), rather than spreading his established coding in a continuation of franchise as he did with Aliens (1986). Instead of the claustrophobia being confined in the depths of space, it’s in the depths of the sea. Instead of murderous extraterrestrials, we have passive, ambiguous non-terrestrial intelligence. The antagonist is then replaced by a human killing machine bred and provoked by naive military and government, implying that the ones who start war are the “true villains” of humanity’s stability, and those that make peace will therefore be rewarded for the betterment of all life etc. etc. etc. Yeah… it’s cheesy as f**k in macho 80s quip-dialogue fashion and all, especially once we get to its ending which was a bit painful to watch, but I still rocked with the film. What Cameron has done with the action direction and set designing is unprecedented, organizing practical constructional pieces to forge believable disasters in the darkest, most mysterious location on Earth, and the lead characters’ romance enacted by Ed Helms and Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio make for some impressively acted dramatic moments.

I’ve heard the extended edition is far superior to the theatrical though, with a completely different conclusion and everything, so maybe in the future I’ll give that cut a shot.  

Verdict: B-

“The Abyss” is now available to stream on Amazon Prime.

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