The Abyss: Special Edition

The third collaboration of writer-director James Cameron and producer Gale Anne Hurd was a big-budget action thriller about a group of underwater oil diggers who go looking for a lost nuclear submarine and wind up encountering extraterrestrials. Shot largely underwater and with direct sound, it had a visceral kick to it that enhanced Cameron’s flair for high-tech special effects and streamlined storytelling, but the attempt to extract the essences of several genres (cold-war submarine thriller, love story, Disney fantasy, pseudomystical SF in the Spielberg mode) and mix them together ultimately led to giddy incoherence. This special edition, actually Cameron’s original three-hour cut, is 27 minutes longer than the 1989 version, and according to most descriptions it’s also vastly superior. (JR)

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