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October 31, 2014, 03:40:04 AM
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Badmovies.org Forum  |  Movies  |  Good Movies  |  The Abyss (1989) revisited « previous next »
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Author Topic: The Abyss (1989) revisited  (Read 309 times)
Lyedecker
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« on: May 16, 2014, 08:02:58 AM »

Aside from Piranha II, this seems to be the most overlooked film in James Cameron's filmography. Why? I know it's a bloated, overly ambitious film that might not quite live up to Aliens or Terminator, but I would hardly call it a bad film. I suppose it could be said that the whole is not greater than the sum of its parts. The Abyss contains a lot of really cool elements and several plotlines but they never really coalesce. Watching it, I feel like Cameron was trying to incorporate way too many themes and messages. There's the cold war overtones, the theme of the evil corporate/military institution (something he uses in just about every film), the relationship between the film's two leads, and of course the aliens, which more or less act as a deus ex machina at the film's end.

I can't help thinking this would have been better as a television series or even as a miniseries. This never could have happened in 1989, but had he made The Abyss today, it could easily be done for TV, and would have been far better, in my opinion. I'm envisioning a 3 or 4 hour miniseries which might be able to better develop all of the individual storylines into a cohesive whole.

Thoughts?
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Jack
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« Reply #1 on: May 16, 2014, 04:18:27 PM »

I was mildly entertained by the special effects when I saw it years ago.  Wouldn't care to sit through it again though.  I came to hate the female lead within 30 seconds of her appearing on screen.  I agree about Cameron sticking a bunch of social commentary or whatever into his movies to the point where he apparently doesn't realize the central plot has become a mere triviality amongst all his infinitely cliched preaching.

I thought Leviathon was a vastly superior film and even Deepstar Six edges out The Abyss pretty easily IMO.  The Sphere was a lot better too. 
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indianasmith
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« Reply #2 on: May 16, 2014, 05:09:38 PM »

I read the book this movie was based on, and it was far better than the film.
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Lyedecker
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« Reply #3 on: May 17, 2014, 10:19:15 AM »

I agree about Cameron sticking a bunch of social commentary or whatever into his movies to the point where he apparently doesn't realize the central plot has become a mere triviality amongst all his infinitely cliched preaching.

He practically beats the audience over the head with his moral preaching. It's probably the worst in Avatar, but this film is a close second. It really could be called the Avatar of the late 80s. Aliens does it as well, but the story and characters are dynamic enough that it doesn't overwhelm the film.
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messedup
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« Reply #4 on: May 17, 2014, 11:00:30 AM »

Only Cameron movie I still need to see. Never thought it was a movie that gets mixed reaction...
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JaseSF
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« Reply #5 on: May 18, 2014, 04:10:47 PM »

It's a good film but mostly it's memorable for its FX of its day and its underwater setting. If you're looking for a monster movie though, you'll likely be disappointed. This is more about relationships between people and between people and nature.
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Lyedecker
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« Reply #6 on: May 18, 2014, 08:16:46 PM »

There never is any one unifying theme though.
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Neville
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« Reply #7 on: May 24, 2014, 06:58:01 PM »

It's true the film ocasionally beats you over the head with its messages: the portrait of the military and Michael Biehn's character are simply ridiculous here.

This said, I think this is a beautiful film and one of Cameron's best, specially the special edition with restored scenes. The film never feels long, and has tons of great scenes (i.e. Ed Harris' descent into the trench) and incredible visuals. I actually prefer it to Spielberg's "Close encounters of the third kind", which is a very similar film IMHO.
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Lyedecker
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« Reply #8 on: May 26, 2014, 01:16:14 AM »

It's true the film ocasionally beats you over the head with its messages: the portrait of the military and Michael Biehn's character are simply ridiculous here.

This said, I think this is a beautiful film and one of Cameron's best, specially the special edition with restored scenes. The film never feels long, and has tons of great scenes (i.e. Ed Harris' descent into the trench) and incredible visuals. I actually prefer it to Spielberg's "Close encounters of the third kind", which is a very similar film IMHO.

I love both Close Encounters and the Abyss but yeah, I'd probably choose The Abyss hands down. I don't know if it's actually a better film or because the times in my life I first watched either. The Abyss sticks with me more, although I still love both films and each easily fits into my top 20, despite whatever flaws they may hold. I could go on and on about the shortcomings of The Abyss, but if I didn't love it, I wouldn't be nitpicking it to death to begin with. :)
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