Monday, November 28, 2016

Sci Fi Top 100, #66: "The Abyss" (1989)

Movie Stats:
Released 1989 (USA)
American, in English
Director - James Cameron
Stars - Ed Harris, Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio, Michael Biehn, Todd Graff, Leo Burmester

Plot Summary:
When a nuclear sub crashes, the Navy hires a civilian deep sea diving crew to look for survivors. Along the way, they face serious dangers and alien creatures. Harris co-stars as Virgil “Bud” Brigman, leader of the diving team; Mastrantonio as Lindsey Brigman, designer of the civilian rig & Bud’s soon-to-be-ex-wife; Graff and Burmester as, respectively, Alan “Hippy” Carnes and Catfish DeVries, members of the diving crew; and Biehn as Lt. Hiram Coffey, leader of the Navy team.

Violence; gore; blue language; brief female nudity (breasts only).

Bad Stuff:
No one seems all that bothered by the fact that they’re trapped deep undersea with very little chance of surviving. They don’t even really talk about it. It annoyed me to no end, like can you have one conversation about how you’re all going to die?

The romance … just, why? So cliche and unnecessary.

It’s at least an hour longer than it needs to be.

Nothing was explained. Not just the stuff with the aliens; even the underwater stuff went largely unexplained. I had to keep asking my husband (who was in the Navy and served on a submarine) to explain stuff because I didn’t understand what was happening half the time.

Good Stuff:
Acting was good.

It’s sort of fun.

Despite the fact that it’s too long, the pacing is pretty good. It moves along at a nice clip. Perhaps that’s due to all the action.

The Verdict:
I just don’t think it makes a whole lot of sense in terms of human behavior. Here these people are, trapped so far down that even if they could get out themselves, they’d die of the bends, and they know that a) rescue will be delayed because of a hurricane and b) their air is running out, and all they seem to care about is the aliens. Which, for the most part, they’re not afraid of, but giggle and smile over repeatedly. As for the aliens, you never learn who they are or where they came from or why they’re there. I guess if I don’t think about it too much, it’s a reasonably entertaining, somewhat goofy, good-natured, harmless sci fi/action flick. In the future, I’d rather watch it again than some of the other duds I’ve seen on this list.

I give it 3 stars.


Patricia said...

I feel like I was around this movie a lot, but never watched it. Like I was old enough when it came out that a lot of people saw it, because we were of autonomous movie-going age, but I myself never saw it. I think it was on cable a lot too, so it might have been on in the background a lot when I was at people's houses who had movie channels.

Also Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio. All over the place in the late 80s. And then what happened to her? IMDB (who helpfully tells us her parents were of Italian descent) says she's doing TV, currently the show Limitleess. She did a couple of seasons of Grimm, too. Which probably means she spent some time in Portland.

balyien said...

I spent most of my adult life thinking I'd seen "The Abyss," only to discover that the movie I'd seen was "Leviathan," also from 1989 and about a submarine and strange things happening deep in the ocean (but horror rather than sci fi).

Apparently "Limitless" was cancelled after one season. I've had a few episodes on in the background while working on stuff. It was reasonably entertaining. However, I thought MEM was miscast.