The Abyss (Special Edition)

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Customer Reviews:

  • Wrong format - screen
    Again, this movie is on the wrong format. Theback cover show widescreen, but not. Still it is 4:3.
    A great movie, but todays standards are not acceptable.
    Do not buy it, until "another" new edition will come with true 16:9....more info
  • Cheesy and Stale
    Abyss / B00005V9IL


    I really cannot understand how this movie can have an average 4 star rating, and that after *most* of the 1 star reviews have to do with the formatting of the Special Edition and not with the actual content. I realize that 80's movies have to be held to a different standard than current movies, but having watched this for the first time a few days ago, I was blown away by how incredibly cheesy the writing for this movie is. I'm afraid, however, that this review may not win me any friends, but here goes.

    When an United States military submarine is distracted by an impossibly quick moving object under the sea, and a mysterious, yet brief power outage that accompanies the sighting, the submarine instantly plows into an underwater wall with disastrous results. This doesn't really make much sense as the power outage is brief enough that it should not have caused the sub to barrel into the undersea wall as directly as it did, but just flow with it. The military isn't too keen on abandoning the potential survivors and the nuclear warheads the submarine was carrying, so a search-and-rescue-and-salvage operation is in order. Unfortunately, they are on a tight time schedule, what with the hurricane coming it all full speed, so it's time to call in the obligatory civilians.

    Ed Harris and crew are under-the-sea in their cozy little research station. They are comfortably redneck (everyone in the cast would be equally comfortable with the crew in Armageddon) and they make cute quips like "I really hate that bitch," rejoindered by, "Well, you should have thought about that before you married her." Hahaha. A group of Navy Seals are sent down and they loudly and confidently assure everyone that none of them are going to "freak out", which is really subtle foreshadowing for when one of them immediately begins showing signs of freaking out. For plot purposes, none of the highly trained Seals *or* the civilian operators notice the signs of freak out, despite a litany of physical symptoms.

    The crew begins the salvage operation and immediately balks at the creepy dead bodies floating all over the place. When one of the civilians becomes comatose, they trek back to the underwater base and forget about looking for survivors, because there weren't any in the first few rooms and the movie needs to move forward. The Seals are convinced that the swiftly moving underwater light source they've seen is some kind of Russian device, so the mission is escalated and the Seals recover a nuclear warhead in case they need to blow something up. (With an amusing scene in which we find that the "how to disable a nuclear warhead to take it home with you" instructions are *only* marked "Secret" and not one of the higher levels of classification in the military. Maybe things were different in the 80's.)

    The underwater station is now in a lot of trouble because the ship above is being tossed badly by the hurricane and the tubes connecting the ship to the base are pulling the base about. When the ship equipment detaches entirely and pulls the base every which way across the ocean floor, there is a ham-fisted scene where Ed Harris' wedding ring (the one he almost discarded!) saves his life. The equipment is eventually thrown over the edge of a deep ocean chasm, which made me concerned that the base would get dragged into the chasm as well, but it doesn't, apparently because we're done with that part of the movie and can move on now.

    The resident Bitchy Female Scientist (BFS) testily announces that they are going to die of suffocation or of heat deprivation long before the above ship can save them. Take note of this information, because it will *never* be mentioned within the movie again - once the alien sightings begin, the immediate danger of freezing to death or running out of breathable air are completely forgotten. The BFS starts seeing underwater aliens and the Freaking Out Seal (FOS) starts cutting himself and decides to send the nuclear warhead down into the abyss to destroy the aliens. The other Seals follow his orders, largely because they won't recognize the symptoms of freak out and they are, like all Movie Military People, slavishly devoted to the chain of command.

    By the time everyone realizes what has happened, it's necessary for the BFS to allow herself to drown so Ed Harris can drag her back to the base and resuscitate her. He waits until she is *completely* dead before starting the arduous process of dragging her back to the ship, despite the fact that time is kind of the essence here, but he really has nothing to worry about because - despite being unresponsive to traditional revival methods - he is able to bring her back to life by shouting at her. Ed then dons some pressure resistant diving equipment and drops down into the abyss to disarm the nuclear warhead, apparently because the one remaining Seal isn't up to the task. Disarming the warhead is as easy as "cutting the red wire" (as usual), but Ed is hampered by a light source that makes everything look equally yellow, so he just takes a 50-50 chance.

    Surprisingly, he guesses correctly and doesn't die, but of course he doesn't have enough oxygen to make it back up to the surface, so he lays down to die. We can't have *that*, so aliens rescue Ed, provide him with a pressurized atmosphere complete with oxygen, talk to him for a bit (we don't get to see that) and then - in the biggest Deus Ex Machina ever attempted on the silver screen - drag Ed and the rest of the crew up to the surface where the hurricane has miraculously dissipated and Ed and Co. do not suffer from the rapid changes in pressure because the aliens "did something to us". None of the terrified military personnel open fire on the aliens, and the movie ends with Ed and the BFS realizing that whatever differences that drove them to divorce have been settled by the events of the movie and that they are super in love now and forever.

    The most irksome aspects of The Abyss are the way the plot lurches from one point to another, immediately forgetting what has gone before in favor of the newer, shiny plot development. Nothing is ever resolved so much as just abandoned - the submarine rescue efforts are token at best, the equipment the base is attached to ceases to be a problem after it tumbles over a cliff, the low oxygen and electricity are forgotten immediately, and even the alien sub-plot is massively half-baked as we are left wondering why they've taken this long to come up and look around if they can come up so easily and with no side-effects to their health. I mean, if humans could go to the bottom of the ocean without worrying about oxygen and bitter cold and pressure issues, we would have done so years ago, so why haven't these advanced aliens done so? Apparently it just hadn't occurred to them.

    Maybe this is a great nostalgia flick if you caught it in the 80's and liked it then. Probably when this came out, it was unique enough that the cool plot and awesome aliens made up for the terrible script and pacing. But if you're new like me, then skip this movie because there are much better out there. I liked Contact well enough, but The Abyss was just too cheesy and silly for me to take seriously....more info
  • This piece of solid sci-fi/adventure comes to DVD
    A solid cast of characters and an interesting premis drive this sci-fi offering. Ed Harris is the tool pusher, the #1 man on an oil rig, except that this rig is located on the ocean floor. When a US Navy submarine sinks in the vicinity Harris and his crew are caught up in the middle of an international drama. Things get take a turn for the grim when a team of Navy SEALS arrive at the undersea rig and take'll have to watch to see what I mean.

    1) I like the setting for the story - the deep sea
    2) I like the assortment of characters that work on the rig, the intelligent and strong-willed woman engineer that designed the rig
    3) The contrasting attitudes of the SEAL teams, especially their team leader
    4) Some of the special effects are quite good - for example, the "water tentacle" is great
    5) The portrayal of challenges of living in the deep-sea

    1) The special effects used to depict the NTIs (watch and you'll see) are getting to be pretty dated, though they were good when the movie was originally released...that's about it.
    2) There's way too much meaningless profanity sprinkled throughout the movie...though some would contend that such language would be essential for accurately portraying oil workers...I wonder.

    All in all this is an engaging and interesting bit of inner-space sci-fi. If you enjoy sci-fi you will enjoy this, though it's doubtful that if you take a careful look that it will truly score 5 stars.

    This is a solid 4-star offering, no doubt about it. You'll be glad you own your own copy....more info
  • Angels in the Void
    Remember when big Hollywood films had complex characters, interesting ideas, and cared enough to invest time in small details? "The Abyss" contains potent drama, genuine thrills, poignant beauty, and ultimately, and ending which forces us to examine ourselves as a species....more info
  • Water... the final frontier
    After a nuclear submarine nose dives into the sea bed after coming across a weird occurrence in the water, the military decides to hire a band of underwater oil drillers to help with the rescue because they have the only underwater movable station in existence that can go down as far as it can go. The leader of the crew is Virgil (Ed Harris), your everyday American man, ball cap, funny jokes, likeable, but a leader that would take a bullet for a friend. The military also gives the crew 4 of its Navy S.E.A.L.S. to help with the mission along with the designer of the station, Lindsey (Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio), who is also Virgil's soon to be ex-wife.

    While looking for survivors, one of the crew members comes across a weird phenomenon which in turns almost kills the guy since he freaks out and screws up his tank. While the crew is trying to search for survivors and help out their buddy, the S.E.A.L.S. are doing there own thing, like getting the codes and keys for the nukes on board. After getting back on board, the S.E.A.L.S .take one of the subs out, that's needed for releasing the station from the ship up above, which causes a major disaster since a hurricane is up top rocking the ships around.

    It's one disaster after another. Oxygen issues, pressure stress, weird occurrences from something down farther below, and nukes. And it's all great. The atmosphere as well as the pacing of the movie is just right. Not one time was I bored in the movie. I actually think everything flowed exactly right because it felt almost real to me (not 100%, but close). I'm not a diver, nor any type of water expert, but almost everything I saw was very believable. When Virgil takes a 20,000 foot decent in a suit, it was really creepy. Everything around was so dark except for his own light. Just falling and sometimes hitting into the side of the cliff. Scary to think about how if that was real. Or when Virgil was dragging someone through the water and you could barely see them even with the lights from the station on them. Looked really good.

    Not everything was perfect though. There was a, well, mini-submarine battle that kind of reminded me of bumper cars from an amusement park. It was kind of laughable. It just looked pretty stupid. And the ending was a little weird to me. I liked it, but, I think it could've been less... I don't know... hokey feeling. I like the uncut version though with the mile high waves, but the rest just felt too much like a children's ending to a Spielberg flick.

    There is one scene that I always remember from this movie and it's a drowning scene. I thought the character that drowns did a great job. It's the person's choice by the way and it all involves a plan. Thought right before it happens, the person starts to freak out and starts saying `THIS IS A BAD IDEA!' and shaking and just going into human instinct to breath. It's so good, that the first time I saw it, I seriously was holding my breath with the person and it was on accident. I just couldn't breath. Good job.

    In the end, I would say own this. It's definitely a sci-fi movie, but there is just so much more to it. Make sure you buy the special edition to get the uncut ending.

    P.S. - That rat was actually breathing that oxygenated fluid. That stuff is real. I had no clue.
    ...more info
  • Moving Story Triumphs Over Special Effects
    As a kid, I remember THE ABYSS coming on television one Sunday afternnon. The image that stayed with me from that brief viewing was the image of Ed Harris, jummping off the ledge into an abyss, measuring more than three miles deep. I believe that the quote that begins this movie sums up my feelings (and the film's "message") more than any review can:

    "When you look into the abyss, the abyss looks also into you." Friedrich Nietszche

    What a frightening thought...and what a frightening movie. Strangely, however, the film derives its suspense from its story and its characters and not, as one might think in a blockbuster of this type, from the alien encounters that occur throughout the film. I agree with other reviewers: Cameron's message is quite over-the-top, but I don't think the vast majority of this film can be accused of such gratuitousness. THE ABYSS focuses, centrally, on characters and humanity. To be sure, the underwater environment provides our characters with plenty of difficulties and stimulus to overcome. In a way that is similar to 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY, the scenes in which our heroes have to swim underwater, in ice cold conditions, in the silence of the deep ocean, are quite suspenseful. But the special effects merely help enhance the atmosphere created by this film--they support the film, and not the other way around.

    I found the love story in the film to be quite convincing and real. Ed Harris does a wonderful job. I even found myself quite moved during the scene in which the fate of his "soon-to-be-ex-wife" is unknown. And when the deep dive of the film occurs, it is the human story that grips us and not the mere fantasy or terror of the unknown. In some ways, we could not care less about what is down there in the abyss: we simply care if our hero comes back alive.

    The Special Edition found on this DVD set apparently contains 28 minutes of extra footage. I have not compared the two versions, but, while long, I did not really feel the Special Edition dragged in any way. In fact, my only real complaint of the film is the fact that it does not seem to know which story it wants to tell: the human/love story, the human/aggression story, or the alien encounter story.

    I'd highly recommend THE ABYSS. Apparently, it was a big failure at the time it came out and I am sure that many brush it off as simply another James Cameron special effects spectacular, compromising story for flash. But it isn't. It really isn't. The special effects are quite superb (you don't feel like you're in 1989, that's for sure). But they simply help to create a trying atmosphere for our characters to grow and develop in. And the result: a good story with memorable characters....more info
  • Wow what an experience!!!
    For years i have heard and seen bits of it on tv usually late nights and paid little attention to it then it happened... one night i came back late from work, totally flat out and hungry i sat in front of the tv and the abyss was on again, i must have been soo tired i didn't move but i now believe it was destiny that has glued me to the seat and took me on a journey of discovery and excitement that i can never forget..and i was soo touched watching this film not for one sec i felt detached or bored this really is a MASTERPIECE as only James Cameron can deliever...

    I won't say what the story is cos you all either watched it and love it as much as i do... but i find myself soo involved in the movie i felt i was there... the scene when bud swam in freezing cold water to the other station and quietly swam up the dock i was holding my breath all the way and i really felt the water chilled through my bones... the scene when lindsy drown herself i felt tears down my eyes... the scene when the water alien made contact with the crew i felt the excitment in my heart... the scene when lindsy talked to bud on his descend to the abyss i can't help feeling overwhelmed with sadness yet there lies a trace of hope... there are soo many scenes that just move you and brings out your raw emotions and its all from just watching it thats why i think James Cameron is such a great director/story teller... the message in the ending is soo beautiful told that i really wish those aliens exist and is watching over us...

    One of my fav film i hope it will be yours too...

    5 STARS!!! ***** ...more info
  • A rare achievement for a "special edition".
    This is one of those rare occassions where, in my opinion, the special edition of a film is better than the original.

    When originally released in the summer of 1989, it followed two previous underwater clunkers, DEEP STAR SIX and LEVIATHON. The ending left too many unanswered issued and too much vagueness regarding the alien's presence on Earth. The restored scenes released in 1994 helped to close the story gaps and make the film more complete.

    It's still a little long at its total SE running time, but still, it's better than sitting through nearly 5 hours of DUNE on the Sci-Fi channel....more info
    Years before he decided to re-sink The Titanic, James Cameron took moviegoers on a journey that was part undersea adventure, part science fiction fantasy, and part political/social commentary. Using the standard scenario of rescuers (the crew of an underwater drilling rig) becoming victims themselves, the director adds an element of otherworldliness by having extraterrestrials residing on the ocean floor.

    One of the movie's pluses is its top-notch cast. Deciding against "big" names, Cameron assembled a talented cast of familiar faces that could add credibility to an otherwise implausible tale. Ed Harris and Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio are equals as a divorced couple that is brought together by work and the eventual struggle to survive.

    Rounding out and providing great support are the members of the crew: Leo Burmeister, Todd Graff, John Bedford Lloyd, Kimberly Scott, and J.C. Quinn, as "Carfish," "Hippy," "Jammer," "One Night," and "Sonny," respectively.

    Michael Biehn, who had previously starred as the hero in Cameron's earlier works "The Terminator and "Aliens," sports a moustache as he plays a paranoid Navy Seal that becomes the film's "heavy."

    The optical effect that would be so memorably displayed in Cameron's later "T2: Judgment Day" was in its infancy but it still impresses as alien-controlled ocean waters "morph" into the likenesses of Harris and Mastrantonio.

    Included on the cassette is a short featurette detailing how the actors spent many arduous hours training for underwater filming and it was work well spent. One could actually believe that they knew exactly what they were doing.

    Though not a great film, "The Abyss" ranks as a enjoyable viewing experience and comes highly recommended....more info
  • Don't bother with this version
    The Abyss is a great movie and I definitely recommend checking it out. However if you are going to get it you might as well get the Special Edition or the Double Digipack versions of the DVD. This one just has the theatrical release of the movie. That's all. You don't get both versions of the film, including the extended version with 20+ minutes of additional footage (well worth sitting through) nor the incredibly compelling documentaries and extras that are truly worth having.

    Considering the low price of the Special Edition there is absolutely no reason why you should go for this non-extras, non-extented edition format. Do yourself a favor and trade up. ...more info
  • Exploration of the final two frontiers.
    Don't pay attention to the negative reviews here. This film is still one of the best ever, even more than 15 years later. James Cameron really made a masterpiece - forever solidifying his emminent status among film directors of all-time. Aliens and Titanic were both very good films, The Abyss is an excellent film, with the Director's cut rating slightly higher - I enjoyed the new ending best (I actually saw the director's cut before seeing the theatrical version). Recommended to all, especially sci/fi and action film lovers....more info
  • Excellent movie, with some of the best effects ever!
    This film is really good, and the DVD is as comphrehensive and mind-blowing as anything I have ever seen of a 2-disc special edition.

    The film is very good, and the effects are incredible (the pseudopod sequence is one of the best effects Hollywood has ever given us), but the cutting of certain scenes in this film is so bad (because there were many scenes that were cut that had to be in this film, and the film's story does not come together at some points. The 1989 theatrical version was very good though, and the acting, the effects and the connection between the two leads was outstanding.
    In 1992, James Cameron released The Abyss Special Edition. This version had 28 minutes of new footage (inculding a wave sequence that was too expensive to finish during production) and it also fleshes out the characters much better than the Theatrical Version did. This version is better than the theatrical version, and it is practically James Cameron's definitive version of The Abyss.

    Theatrical Version Rating: 7/10
    Special Edition Rating: 8.5/10

    The DVD is huge, depending on which one you have (The Single Disc Version, or the far superior 2 disc version (that is the single disc version plus a disc with a lot of special features and hidden easter eggs)

    Disc One Contains the orginial 2 1/2- hour 1989 Theatrical Version and the 3-hour 1992 Special Edition Version, both with 5.1 and 2.0 sound, and a text commentary for both versions.

    Disc Two Contains A lot of Special Features, inculding a 60 minute documentary "Under Pressure: The Making of the Abyss" and SO MUCH MORE.....

    DVD: 10/10

    Overall: 8.5/10

    If you only like the theatrical version, buy this DVD. If you only like the special edition, buy this DVD. I highly recommend this DVD....more info
  • Very good, very solid movie
    I really enjoyed this movie, as Im not big on sci-fi. The movie for the first 2 hours is good, but the last 45 minutes is intense and emotional and just very good, and I truly enjoyed it. Someone stated over dramatic, but its not, its a true interpetation of life and the way people are. This movie was not boring , it was interesting and not once did I doubt this flick. Its a solid movie everything blends well together. This isnt a horror type science fiction but more of a drama-action type. If you like dramas,actions and sci-fi, check this flick out and for only $10 in your local video store or here on amazon its well worth the $$$$ and a movie i will without a doubt watch from time to time. If you dont want to buy it rent it its worth a viewing. As I said im not big on sci-fi but do beleive in other life somewhere in the galaxy be it space, or even water. We cant go down 25,000 feet so you never know what is down there it gets you thinking whcih is very cool. You have to have an open mind when viewing this....more info
    "The Abyss" may not be as popular as "Aliens", "Terminator" 1 & 2 or "Titanic", but it's one of the best films made by James Cameron. The movie is a sci-fi story with groundbreaking special effects, but Cameron carefully constructed characters with a wide range of emotions, and that's the biggest reason why this movie is effective: we care about the characters, even the smallest role in "The Abyss" is another solid piece in the cast.

    Granted, the pace can be slow in some scenes, but eventually the reward is big when the puzzle is solved, because the movie makes you feel inside this particular submarine world. The design of the creatures is very attractive, they really look like creatures built with living water, and this movie dates back from 1989, when the special effects weren't as sophisticated as they are today, so "The Abyss" is a groundbreaking movie in many technical aspects.

    The performances are very solid, of course, the standout is Ed Harris a very underrated actor, but he is always reliable, no matter what role he is playing. Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio also gives a nice performance in "The Abyss", at the beginning of the movie she appears to be just an angry woman, but eventually the viewer discovers her multiple sides and emotions. Michael Biehn is solid as the paranoid Navy SEAL Officer, and every member of the cast fits nicely in their roles.

    "The Abyss" is not as frantic as "Terminator 2" or "Aliens", but every person that embraces the directing style of Cameron should feel pleased with this movie. A very solid movie with great technical accomplishments and with an interesting plot....more info
  • Glad they deleted these scenes
    The Abyss is one of my all time favorite films. I don't know what everyone is talking about when they say it is slow paced. I got the VHS tape many years ago and that thing is worn out.

    One day I saw the DVD special edition "uncut" version and was baffled. The plot is needlessly expanded - it gives a COMPLETELY different flavor to the movie. I will not go into detail, but it is very deliberate and quite goofy. I regretted ever seeing the special edition and I'm trying to forget it. James was smart to cut what he did.

    I highly recommend the non-special edition, but not this....more info
  • Great Movie- DON'T get the Special Edition, get the Collector's Ed.

    The Abyss is a great sci-fi movie of it's time, and one of my favorites.

    But- The point of this review is to show that in 2002, squeezing 2 versions of the movie AND special features onto 1 DVD may have been a "money-saver" for the studio, but to have to listen to compressed 2-channel Dolby "Surround" tracks is torture if you have even a half-way decent sound system. (i.e.- not TV speakers)

    The fact is- 'Dolby Surround' is not actually surround sound. Incase you don't know- Stereo is stereo, and if you imbed a reverse-phase track so that D. Surround decoders (on just about every 5 speaker reciever for the last 10 years) play audio in the rear, you're just listening to louder sound effects that are coming also from the front 2 speakers. The center channel is just taking the mono tracks and playing them independently (and there is more than just dialog in this). No ".1" track included either, your sub just plays some low frequency sounds from the crappy low res audio in stereo. Barely noticeable.

    -Also, the video is actually a 'fullscreen' aspect ratio with the 1.35:1 movie aspect embedded inside of it. So the result is (even with progressive scan) LOWER RESOLUTION THAN 480p (technically lower than 480i on the disc itself)

    Point being- even in 2002-2003, the studio (Fox) could have just spent a few more cents per unit to manufacture these in 2 disc form, and there wouldn't be a problem. Or just not make the decision to put 2 versions of the same movie in it.

    GET THE COLLECTOR'S EDITION if you like this movie, which I do. I'm returning this one (if I can)...more info
  • So-so underwater sci-fi and did anyone catch the quick tribute to 10cc?
    A tribute to 10cc's song "I'm Not in Love" is made at the climax of the film as Mery Elizabeth Mastrantonio quotes to dying Ed Harris the "Big Boys don't cry" line, soon followed by the word 10cc.

    Not bad deep water sci-fi. Good performances all around and impressive special effects. The dialogue and word play gets a bit too hammy and the ending is way over the top, which kind of spoils an otherwise good lead up to the climatic finish.

    Could be considered an underwater "Twister" sort of movie. Heavy on effects, that takes plenty of liberty with reality. And relies much more on fiction even though it's portrayed mostly as science.

    Recommended as a popcorn movie, but don't expect groundbreaking, thought provoking cinema....more info
  • Good deep water movie to own
    I really like the graphics of this movie. It was made well and can even live up the standards of todays high graphic movies. It was full of suspense, action, and drama. I enjoyed especially the special effects that were done. Its one to own and have as one's collection. A+ movie...more info
  • Soon to be a Classic
    This is a very good movie, which came out in late 80s. It's by James Cameron, who was director of Terminator, Terminator II and Aliens. It's not as action-packed as those movies, but rather is a an intelligent movie with the equivilent amount of suspense, twists and surprises. The director's cut ending is a great plus, which wasn't available in the original release. If memory serves, this was a box office disappointment, but has become a cult favorite among Sci-Fi fans. If you like smart movies that make you thing and ask questions about our place in the universe, then you'll like this....more info
  • Not the best DVD edition
    I love this movie. It's hard to think of a better masterpiece from the 1980s. It's just too bad I bought this version -- older DVDs like this one have some problems with playback on modern widescreen TVs. Without using the TV's "zoom" feature (which basically makes the image larger to fit the screen, but reduces resolution drastically), you have to watch the movie in a truncated box within the screen. There is no true 16:9 output from the disc itself.

    It is indeed presented in "widescreen" format, but the movie plays in a 4:3 setting which shrinks the image to fit within 4:3-sized box in your 16:9 monitor. Not the best way to watch a great movie. I'll have to wait for a Blu-Ray version when I finally upgrade to hi-def.

    That aside, the extended version of the film is included along with the standard version. But there are almost no special features at all. ...more info
  • I love these movies
    Okay, I'm biased because I love under-water sci-fi. But I thought this movie was awesome when it first came out and I recently bought it and watched it again and loved it. Classic....more info
  • Unusual movie
    Scientists say that we know less about the deep oceans than about the surface of the moon. In one of his first movies, John Cameron takes the idea one step further when evidence surfaces (literally) that there might be an advanced civilization "way down there." Harris and Mastrontonio are excellent in their roles, and it's great seeing Ed get a leading man role for once instead of his usual situation of playing supporting roles.

    The movie combines elements of several genres, in some ways it's a combination of the action, western, sci-fi, and gothic genres, but Cameron skillfully weaves all the different elements together in a way that somehow makes it work. At 2 hours and 20 minutes, it's longer than average, and I agree with several writers that it tends to drag in a few spots, but that's more than made up for by the movies other strengths, which are numerous. And finally, the movie's special effects are as visually exciting as one could ask for, and the deep sea creatures are very cool. :-) It's still a fine movie and one that seems to have held up with the fans on repeated viewings.

    By the way, I have not ordered any of the DVDs of the film, and am reviewing it here from seeing it in the theater many years ago. But from reading many of the other reviews here about the film, apparently a lot of people are complaining about getting defective DVDs of the movie. So "caveat emptor"--buyer beware....more info
    This review is NOT based on the actual movie which is one of the best Sci-Fi flicks ever to be seen. However, how can they advertise that this is anamorphic 2:35 aspect ratio, WHEN IT IS NOT?!!?

    Very deceiving. Says 2 discs but you only get 1, and the other disk with the extra features is great. It says we get it, but there is only 1 disk. It does not offer the wide range of audio it claims it has, but worst of all is them saying this is anamorphic 2:35, when it is not. Great movie, but who the heck can stand to see HUGE BLACK BARS and just a small sliver of the actual movie? I have a 62" HD Sony which is AWESOME. But watching this movie, even on such a big screen is intolerable. Odd is at the very beginning it is fine. But as the movie starts, you can see THE ABYSS is cut off by the HUGE black bars and then NO ANAMORPHIC 2:35!!!! One of my favorite movies of all time and I can not even stand to watch it. a 62" screen and 90% of it is taken up with huge black bars with the movie playing in the middle on what looks like about a 4 inch wide screen. Zooming does not help as it eliminates part of the black bars, but then you lose a huge portion of the picture which is worthless. How can they advertise this as they do, but be so wrong about so many things? Furthermore, with DVD's, once open you can only exchange for the same title. You cannot get a refund or exchange for another title. So, you buy it under the assumption it is what it says it is and you get what it says you will get. Only to open it and find out it is not even close to what was advertised and you are stuck with it. I am shocked they are advertising this as they are and not delivering what they are advertising you will get. I took mine back to the store and told the manager that IT IS NOT WHAT IT CLAIMS IT IS...even had him stick it in a dvd player to see for himself. All he could do is offer me another copy. No refund and no exchange for another title. How can they lie and then not give a refund?? How can they take one of the best movies ever and ruin it as they are??? ...more info
    One star rating for the DVD version the studio released, not the movie. The box says "Enhanced for widescreen TVs", but the only parts that fill the screen of my 1080p HD widescreen are the menus. So if you got an "old" TV, you're good to go. If your DVD player puts out a 480p signal, you can fill your 1080 screen (with letterbox on top & bottom), but then this is just a crummy looking video picture. Nothing "special" about that. So if 20th Century Fox knew enough to make the menus HD widescreen compatible, then why not the film? Especially since the release is advertised as "Enhanced for widescreen TVs". Seems pretty deceptive to me. ...more info
  • The Abyss
    My son in Iraq had been watching this movie with a few of his room mates when they had an attack and was unable to finish it. So we bought this one so they could see the movie when ever they wanted to. We have always enjoyed this movie and understand the folks in Iraq did also....more info
  • A MUST have for your DVD collection!
    This is a great movie. I'd already owned it as VHS and have been purchasing all my old favorites in DVD...and this was one I had to have.
    Plenty of action....suspense and excitement. It really is one you'll enjoy time and time again....more info
  • Almost bought this one!
    Thought it was anamorphic! Thank you guys! Now when will we get the anamorphic version?...more info
  • A Science Fiction Classic
    A definite sci-fi classic. A masterpiee through and through. One of James Cameron's best. An underwater tale that does not disappoint.

    Highly recommended, but if you can, catch the Two Disc set. the extras are magnificient....more info
  • SUPER!!!!!
  • Non-Anamorphic is ok for the Abyss
    James Cameron filmed The Abyss in 4:3. The widescreen editions are actually the versions that have parts of the video action cut from frame to frame. I am a major proponent of widescreen, and know that The Abyss as well as a handful of others, including The Shining, actually have more video in the 4:3 editions than the widescreen edition....more info
  • If only I had read these posts...
    Bought this believing it would be recorded correctly. They just took the 2003 non-anamorphic DVD and put a cardboard with a hologram on top that says 2007, that's all. Once opened, you cannot return these. I'll throw it away I guess... is there a phone number to complain? Can't find one......more info
  • perfect
    I was very please with the dvd and all the others that I got ,I'll be back to do more shoppin with you fine folks,it will be the only place I will get my dvd's from now on.Thanks again.Gina Hillard...more info
  • Great movie...dissapointing dvd
    I can't tell you how excited i was to find this for 8.99 new at the mall. i also can't tell you how awesome movies look on my 42" lcd hdtv (thats a 16x9 ratio for the uninitiated) and upscaled on my xbox 360. what i can tell you is how dissapointed i am at the treatment this dvd got.

    first of all, there is no 5.1 (or dts for that matter)mix, even though it says there is on the back of the box. its only dolby surround. "okay well thats not too big of a deal i said", and i hit play. then came the 2nd and worst thing that could possibly happen...the fox logo came up as the movie started, but at about a 6th the size of my tv. it lasted too long to be anything asthetic and then the movie started.

    here's where i get mad. the movie is filmed in a 2:35:1 aspect ratio. (which for the layman, means it appears wider in scope, but at the expense of actual viewing space (ie bigger black bars on a standard tv). now on an hdtv this isnt too big of a deal (especially if the dvd is mastered anamorphically) because its already widescreen, so your black bars at a 2:35 ratio arent so bad (and are smaller). however it appears that the movie was mastered on the dvd in a 4:3 (standard tv size) box, with the bars as "part" of the actual movie.

    basically its like someone took a widescreen VHS tape and dubbed it on a dvd. meaning:

    (1) the movie looks about 6 times too small on my widescreen tv (its like this little rectangle surrounded by black bars)

    (2)this is not actually widescreen and gives it a really bad bootleg look

    (3) the resolution and detail of the dvd is absolutely terrible (ie vhs quality)AND i have to zoom the video TWICE to get it to fit on the tv, making the flaws of the already terrible transfer even more apparent.

    this upsets me greatly because it is the "Special Edition". whats so special about it? but apparently all of the versions of this movie share the same flaws. the special dvd edition of "Aliens" (also by cameron) its fantastic and has none of these issues i describe to you now. i saw the movie awhile ago and i havent finished the "special" edition yet, but from what im reading from users on amazon, some "special" editions dont even have the extra 28 mins of footage even though they claim to on the dvd.

    forgive the pun, but this and all dvd versions of the abyss are simply...abysmal...more info
  • Give me a break
    Non-anamorphic widescreen and no 5.1 dolby digital sound...what a joke....more info
  • A Total Waste Of Money
    Before I even begin, I'd like to say that my one star rating is directed solely at the DVD itself-ANY VERSION, I've bought them all - NOT THE MOVIE! None of them!!!NOT ONE! is in anamophic (Enhanced) widescreen!!!! This movie is probably - who am I kidding? - is most defintely - THE BEST sci-fi movie ever made! It deserves a hell of a lot more than 5 measily stars! I give it 10, personally. All DVD incarnations of it, however, get absolutely NO stars from me. I can't, without being absolutely vulgar, express how unhappy I am with 20th Century Fox. They've sucked over $150.00 out of me - just trying to find a decent copy of this movie. I really wouldn't mind - $150.00 ain't much money - but I'm disabled and am trying to survive on about $700.00 a month! Get with the program fellas! Let me see it in true widescreen at least once before I die! ...more info
  • Unbelievable!
    Dazed and confused!!!!! I feel like I am in the Abyss!!!!! What happened to the Anamorphic? The box cover even states anamorphic? What is Fox up to? I was so excited that all of the advertising for this edition stated anamorphic, but I was left so violated when I discovered that I had yet spent more money for the same version that I had on the 5 star edition. Fox please have someone check this stuff before you fool the public!...more info
  • NON-anamorphic picture
    So disappointing! I thought this would FINALLY be the anamorphic dvd we've been waiting for, but... NO! Strange that so many "different" versions of this film have been released on dvd without the anamorphic addition. A HUGE amount of dvd buyers now own hd tv's and home theater projectors... the anamorphic aspect of a dvd is of significant importance to us!! I love this movie... what a total shame....more info
  • Lenticular Rip off Do not get OUT FOXED
    This is a disgrace Lenticular means a different box cover. this is the first and only version of the movie. Get the 5 star collection.
    The same this for all the 6-5-07 fox releases. The Dummies at fox did not even notice that on predator is DTS but the new fancy cover say D.D....more info
  • Lenticular Rip off Do not get OUT FOXED
    This is a disgrace Lenticular means a different box cover Abyss is the first version of the movie. Get the special 2 disc dvd.The same this for all the 6-5-07 fox releases. ...more info
  • One of my Top 10 Films, but I admit it's not for everyone
    I'm a fan of James Cameron. Although he has a big ego, he is a big talent unlike others in this business. This film is an odd mixture of several genres including science-fiction, action, disaster and romance. Somehow Cameron makes it all work and this edition includes almost 30 minutes of relevant footage that help explain the gaps in the theatrical release as Cameron was forced to edit his completed film from nearly 3 hours to 2:20 minutes by the producers who wanted more showtimes.

    The story opens with a military sub that is mysteriously hit by something in the deep and falls into a great abyss (a sort of bottomless drench in the ocean floor). There is no crew to rescue at that depth and as a result of the "collusion", but the military wants to secure the nukes on that submarine and before the Russians in the area get to the wreckage first. An experimental deep drilling underwater rig capable of moving across the ocean floor at great depths is asked to assist the military, but as soon as military show up on the rig a hurricane arrives and cuts everyone off from the surface. This is where the tension builds and the story really develops in this character and special effects driven film.

    The acting by all is first-rate with Ed Harris of Apollo 13 and A History of Violence as the head of the experimental undersea drilling rig, Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio of The Color of Money and The Perfect Storm as his soon-to-be ex-wife that he still holds a torch for but hates to admit it designed the rig, and Micheal Biehn of The Terminator as the head of the elite military team that clashes with Harris' men on the rig. It's amazing how much action can take place in such claustrophic quarters, but it does and does so in a believable manner.

    The Cameron's script is uneven as it ranges from very believable dialogue between co-workers, military personnel with myopic points of view, and husband and wife at war to over-the-top preachy stuff about the environment, violence, hate and love. He does offer a lot here in that the story has something for everyone. Cameron's direction is also uneven as he doesn't seem sure which direction to take his film at times, but still delivers a very satisfying experience. The special effects are brilliant and helped to really launch the digital effects we have come to know and take for granted today. In addition, the score by James Horner (Titanic) is haunting, uplifting, and very memorable.

    Although admittedly uneven at times, this movie is awesome and is a terrific experience. My whole family loves this film and we've seen it numerous times even at the nearly 3 hour length of this "Special Edition" which is better than the original theatrical version wherein Cameron was forced to cut the film down. The full 3 hours better tells the story and is as Cameron originally wanted the film to be seen. You can see that the additional scenes fit into the film seamlessly and not choppy like other "Director Cuts" can look like.

    This film is, in my view, a masterpiece in its own way and although it's not for everyone, I think most will enjoy this Cameron classic....more info
  • Simply Brilliant
    I'm a harsh critic, and most films do not get 5 stars from me. But The Abyss deserves them--it's not just a great sci-fi film, it's a great film, period. Ed Harris and Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio are both superb (although Harris does go over the top at least once), and the scene in which Mastriantonio drowns is incredibly emotional. What amazes me is how many movies this is, all wrapped into one, and how it moves from one to another so inexorably. It starts out as a cold war thriller, becomes a deep sea rescue, turns into a study of a failed relationship, and there's hardly even a touch of the science fiction element until far into the film. Perhaps that is what the Amazon reviewer means when he calls it 'slow-moving'--but most assuredly, slow-moving it is not. And when the science-fiction element begins, there is a great sense of wonder. This movie owes a lot to Close Encounters--Cameron recreates Spielberg's look, with all the pretty lights, and his lanky aliens, and his giant glowing mothership, and the hallucinatory quest to get there, but in a much darker and, of course, wetter way. But its not merely Close Encounters Under Water, and whether you see the original or the longer directors cut--and each has it's own rewards--it's definitely a movie not to miss. Heck, even the Amazon reviewer who thought it was slow moving has it as an "essential video'....more info
  • Epic Action/Thriller - Great DVD Package
    The Abyss Special Edition gives you both the Original Theatrical Version, and the Special Director's Cut with almost 30 minutes of footage integrated into the film that was never in theaters. It's unfortunate that those who saw the film in theaters and didn't buy James Cameron's directors cut will miss out on what this movie was REALLY meant to be.

    The new footage gives the movie an ENTIRELY different ending, only because while the original's simply gave us an ending concluding a story about alien lifeforms discovered below sea, the director's cut gives us that, PLUS an entire deeper meaning/lesson of human life. So even if you buy this version, the ONLY version to view is the Director's cut. Plus disc 2 gives you amazing special features. It's definitely a package worth buying if you're into epic and meaningful movies. An amazing soundtrack and stellar character performances make this one of the best sleeper hits of the 20th century.

    -English and Spanish subtitles
    -English Audio only
    -171 minutes (director's cut)...more info
  • Wonderful film and very masterful..
    The unique nature of the setting alone eludes normal reviews for film making, accompanied by great acting and the use of real cutting edge technology that exists (albeit not as functional as in the movie) make it a must see. The final 20 minutes have you asking questions about your own humanity and understanding hope and charity.......more info
  • A decent movie marred
    This is a pretty decent movie with a noticeable big budget. However, it's marred by the incredibly atrocious acting paired with even worse dialogue. The female lead Mary S. overacts throughout the entire movie. She's just trying to hard and it's distracting as well as annoying. I really wanted her to have drowned. Ed Harris is barely any better. Both tend to scream theri lines and start to yelling at people during high tension moments. Biehn was decent. The dialogue unbelievably is even worse. Lines include: "I am an iron clad bitch", "Keep your panties on", "howdy, how you guys doin'" [first contact] etc. I mean some of this dialogue is the worst I've ever heard in any movie. Even the alien's dialogue is cheesey.

    The movie was overly long. I guess Cameron wanted to show all his expensive footage of the abyss. Understandable but it kills the pacing. Many of the moments were just too overdramatic. Mary S. drowning and Harris refusing to give up. Being that his acting is subpar doesn't help any. A lot of the dialogue is blatantly dubbed and not even matching. The plot is decent, but contrived and predicatable. There was no suspense that Harris or Mary S. would actually die, especially after Harris went into overdrive by slapping her around. The aliens would undoubtedly save Harris even though he has enough time to type essays back to command.

    I just don't see how people can find this movie great. It's decent at best. The worst parts are the acting, dialogue and contrived plot. Some of the action sequences were well done, I have to admit but that's the best thing going for it....more info
  • Special Edition adds extra sub-plot
    I've always known this film in the original theatrical version, which is well over 2 hours long. The Special Edition adds another 24 minutes of footage and adds an extra environmental sub-plot. I'm not entirely convinced by the longer version, which ends up being a little preachy, but it does add some extra interest and alien interaction. However, the original theatrical version is also included on the same DVD, with the classic solid-water tentacle effect, and deep-sea mini-sub battles, plus the superb performances of Ed Harris and especially Elizabeth Mastrantonio, who really should have appeared in more films....more info