Film of the Week: The Abyss: Special Edition (1989)

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James Cameron directs Ed Harris, Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio and Michael Biehn in this submarines make contact with aliens action romance. 

Cameron’s most mature spectacle. It still delivers all the tech heavy effects work, Man versus Machine adventure, roughneck dialogue,  save the world hippy dippyness you’d expect from the King of the World. But it also amps up the adult romance to a satisfying degree so that Harris and Mastrantonio go from Grant / Hepburn Hawksian barbed banter to moments of heart wrenching sacrifice on a par with THAT famous scene from The Last of the Mohicans. The titular Abyss refers as much to these two crossing their gulf of anger at each other and reuniting as partners as it does about aliens hidden down ocean trenches. Nukes, submersible battles, flooding gangways and galactic tsunamis aside, Cameron’s least popular epic has a uniquely captivating adult drama at its very core. It is kick-ass intense too.

10

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