Movie Review: The Abyss (1989)

Sci-fi. A genre that I hold very closely to my heart. From “Star Wars” to “Blade Runner” to “Ex Machina”, there’s a ton of movies/shows/books/games/etc. within the genre. And one of the main reasons why I adore the genre so much is that there are so many kinds of stories that can be told within the genre. From pew pew laser action to brain-y AI philosophizing, it’s a versatile genre. So let’s explore another one of its depths.

Ladies and gentlemen… “The Abyss”.

After an American nuclear submarine mysteriously sinks to the bottom of the ocean, a diving crew gets tasked with diving down there to investigate what might have happened to it. And soon they discover something they never expected to find down there.  So now we have our underwater thriller with a potential sci-fi twist. And yeah, this plot is great. What we have here is not just people finding something strange and never before seen, but it’s also about people stuck in a claustrophobic situation and how that affects them. And it makes the plot so much deeper. The plot here is tense, engaging, awe-inspiring, and just overall enjoyable.

The characters in this are all interesting and overall entertaining. First up we have Ed Harris as Bud Brigman, who is more or less the leader of the dive team. He’s a man willing to do a lot to get the job done, but he also cares deeply for his crew, never wanting to push them too far. He’s an interesting character who gets some decent development throughout. And Ed Harris is of course great in the role. Next we have Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio as Lindsey, the somewhat estranged wife of Harris’ Bud. She’s quick-witted, smart, and quite tough, making her quite an enjoyable foil to the rest of the cast. And Mastrantonio is great in the role. Next we have Michael Biehn as Lieutenant Coffey, the leader of some Navy SEALs who have been tasked with helping out on this dive. He’s tough and a little bit of a dick, but he’s not a straight up bad person. And he gets some really interesting development through the movie that I won’t explain any further. And Biehn is great in the role, it’s probably the best I’ve ever seen him. And we get some supporting performances from people like Leo Burmester, Todd Graff, Kimberly Scott, John Bedford Lloyd, and more, all doing very well in their respective roles.

The score for the movie was composed by Alan Silvestri, and it was absolutely fantastic. His score has a way of evoking a sense of awe and wonder, as well as building tension. It captures many kinds of emotions, and just overall elevates the movie quite a bit. It’s seriously fantastic.

“The Abyss” was written and directed by James Cameron, and he did a great job with all that. His directing really evokes that sense of claustrophobia that a movie set under the sea should be able to bring. And this sense of claustrophobia of course gives the movie some really solid suspense that kept me on the edge of my seat for a good chunk of it. And Mikael Salomon’s cinematography is stunning, especially in the many ways it plays around with lighting. Combine that with the absolutely amazing visual effects, and you got one of the most visually stunning movies around.

This movie has been well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has an 89% positive rating and a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 62/100. And on it has a score of 7,6/10. The movie won 1 Oscar in the category of Best Visual Effects. It was also nominated for an additional 3 Oscars in the categories of Best Cinematography, Best Set Decoration, and Best Sound.

“The Abyss” is a highly ambitious movie from James Cameron, and I think it worked out incredibly well. It has a great plot, good characters, great performances, fantastic music, and fantastic directing/cinematography/visual effects. Time for my final score. *Blub*. My final score for “The Abyss” is a 9,86/10. Which of course means that it gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.

My review of “The Abyss” is now completed.

Thank god that it wasn’t… abyssmal.

4 thoughts on “Movie Review: The Abyss (1989)

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