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"The Abyss" Movie Review from MoviePulse

by Mike Massie, on 9/29/2007

James Cameron’s early masterpiece “The Abyss” brings to the screen some of the most suspenseful scenes ever filmed, an original and inspiring science-fiction story, and breathtaking dramatic acting that puts this film ranking at the top of the genre with other classics like Blade Runner and Aliens. A small group of underwater oil rig workers commanded by Bud Brigman (Ed Harris) are stationed deep below the watery surface. Due to their extreme depth, they are most closely positioned to a recently downed German submarine which requires a quick search and rescue examination. A team of Navy SEALs are sent down for further investigation and nuclear missile retrieval from the sub. As tensions grow between the two crews, Bud realizes he is caught between the mysterious plans of Lieutenant Coffey (Michael Biehn) and possible deep-sea alien creatures. Films like this are far and few between, but director James Cameron, evidenced by his early successes with The Terminator and Aliens, has mastered the art of suspense and entertainment. Though not quite in the same vein as Hitchc*ck, Cameron’s films employ an extreme level of intensity, often marked with plenty of action and violence. Several moments in the film stand out as perhaps the finest suspense sequences ever filmed. When Lt. Coffey attacks the shuttle carrying Bud and Lindsey (Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio), they are stranded several hundred feet away from the main ship and left with only one oxygen suit. As they debate who will have to drown so that the other can swim back to the ship for help, freezing water pours into the shuttle from every wall. Another scene forces Bud to descend the abyss to disarm an active nuclear weapon which threatens him with both the lack of oxygen to make the round trip as well as insanity from incredibly high levels of water pressure. Asphyxiation is a major conflict throughout the movie and constantly present due to the frightening setting. Despite this notably horrible method of death, sacrifices are constantly being debated and often volunteered by the lead characters. This unfaltering decision to do the right thing and to preserve the lives of others is a powerful and emotional attribute consistent in many of Cameron’s heroes. Overall an excellent science-fiction film with constant nerve-wracking suspense, beautiful character and relationship development, courageous heroes, and alien phenomena, The Abyss is one of Cameron’s most spectacular films and is a must-see for fans of the genre. - Read the full review at

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Product Overview

A civilian oil rig crew is recruited to conduct a search and rescue effort when a nuclear submarine mysteriously sinks. One diver (Ed Harris) soon finds himself on a spectacular odyssey 25,000 feet below the ocean's surface where he confronts a mysterious force that has the power to change the world or destroy it.


Studio Foxvideo
SKU 204254178
UPC 024543442165
UPC 14 00024543442165
Format DVD
Release Date 8/6/2009
Rating Rating
Aspect Ratio
Widescreen  2.35:1
Name Harris,Ed
Link Search Link
Cast & Crew
Alan Silvestri - Original Music By
Conrad Buff, IV, et. al. - Editor
Ed Harris - Actor
Gale Anne Hurd - Producer
James Cameron - Director
James Cameron - Writer
Joseph C. Nemec, III - Art Director
Leo Burmester - Actor
Leslie Dilley - Production Designer
Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio - Actor
Michael Biehn - Actor
Mikael Salomon - Cinematographer
Russell Christian - Art Director
Van Ling - Producer
Winner (1990) Oscar, John Bruno, et. al., Best Effects, Visual Effects
Nominee (1990) Oscar, Leslie Dilley, Anne Kuljian, Best Art Direction-Set Decoration,Oscar, Mikael Salomon, Best Cinematography,Oscar, Don J. Bassman, et. al., Best Sound
ReviewSource Variety
Review A firstrate underwater suspenser with an otherworldly twist, The Abyss suffers from a payoff unworthy of its buildup. Same sensibilities that enable writer-director James Cameron to deliver riveting, supercharged action segments get soggy when the 'aliens' turn out to be friendly...Action is launched when a navy nuclear sub suffers a mysterious power failure and crashes into a rock wall. Bud Brigman (Ed Harris) and his gamy crew of undersea oil-rig workers are hired to dive for survivors...The Abyss has plenty of elements in its favor, not least the performances by Harris as the compassionate crewleader and Mastrantonio as his steel-willed counterpart. Not even the $50 million-plus pic's elaborate technical achievements can overshadow these two.
ReviewRating 8
Review The equivalent of an encyclopedia devoted entirely to the making of one spectacular, technologically innovative, and commercially unsuccessful film, The Abyss Special Edition might just be the new standard by which all DVDs are measured. This two-disc set includes both the theatrical release version and writer/director James Cameron's Special Edition, which adds 28 minutes that redefine the film in both scope and structure...As The Abyss plumbed new depths of technical filmmaking, so too does the special edition DVD release of the film strike new ground for its medium...its respect for the details that go into the making of a monumental film result in this set being a wet dream-come-true for cinephiles, technogeeks, and DVD freaks alike. While one can certainly critique the movie's narrative overindulgence, the production itself remains an awe-inspiring and unforgettable cinematic experience.
Reviewer Jeffrey Wachs
ReviewRating 10
DVD, Sensormatic, No Longer Produced
Product Attributes
Actor Harris,Ed
Label Fox Home Entertainment
Music Format DVD
Video Format DVD
David Ansen, NewsWeek Heart stopping...white knuckle...deep sea thrills.
Leonard Maltin's Movie & Video Guide Spectacular underwater saga...a fascinating, one-of-a-kind experience.
Mick LaSalle, San Francisco Chronicle Both Mastrantonio and Harris are terrific, never missing a beat, always convincing...
Mike Clark, USA Today ...a killer chase scene, two fine leads, and one Oscar-worthy "creature'' special effect...
Peter Travers, Rolling Stone Stupendously exciting and emotionally engulfing...
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"The Abyss" Movie Review from MoviePulse by Mike Massie, on Sep 29, 2007