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The Abyss (1989)

tomatometer

88

Average Rating: 7.2/10
Reviews Counted: 43
Fresh: 38 | Rotten: 5

The utterly gorgeous special effects frequently overshadow the fact that The Abyss is also a totally gripping, claustrophobic thriller, complete with an interesting crew of characters.

57

Average Rating: 5.9/10
Critic Reviews: 7
Fresh: 4 | Rotten: 3

The utterly gorgeous special effects frequently overshadow the fact that The Abyss is also a totally gripping, claustrophobic thriller, complete with an interesting crew of characters.

audience

83

liked it
Average Rating: 3.5/5
User Ratings: 108,410

My Rating

Movie Info

The crew of an experimental, high-tech submersible is called into action to investigate a mysterious nuclear submarine crash. A series of strange encounters leads the crew to suspect the accident was caused by an extraterrestrial craft, and that they may be participating in an encounter with an alien species. However, in order to make contact, they must not only brave the abyss, an exceedingly deep underwater canyon, but also deal with the violent actions of one of their own crew members, an

Nov 7, 2000

20th Century Fox Film Corporat

Watch It Now

Cast

Latest News on The Abyss

March 28, 2012:
James Cameron Plans 3D Film About Ocean Dive
He'll take filmgoers along on his dive to the bottom of the Mariana Trench.
March 8, 2012:
Watch James Cameron Hit Bottom
Cameron breaks a world record by diving five miles below the surface of the ocean.

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All Critics (43) | Top Critics (7) | Fresh (38) | Rotten (5) | DVD (24)

A firstrate underwater suspenser with an otherworldly twist, The Abyss suffers from a payoff unworthy of its buildup.

June 19, 2008 Full Review Source: Variety
Variety
Top Critic IconTop Critic

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 leads to giddy incoherence.

June 6, 2007 Full Review Source: Chicago Reader | Comments (7)
Chicago Reader
Top Critic IconTop Critic

This overlong concoction is scuppered by dire dialogue, histrionic performances and maudlin sentimentality.

February 9, 2006 Full Review Source: Time Out | Comments (6)
Time Out
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Anyone looking for a discouraging word about this stupendously exciting and emotionally engulfing film should read no further. The Abyss confirms James Cameron as a world-class filmmaker.

May 12, 2001
Rolling Stone
Top Critic IconTop Critic

The human stuff is more than worth the descent.

January 1, 2000 Full Review Source: Washington Post
Washington Post
Top Critic IconTop Critic

I'd sooner believe that Moby Dick could swim up the drainpipe.

January 1, 2000 Full Review Source: Washington Post | Comments (2)
Washington Post
Top Critic IconTop Critic

The Abyss gains in some ways from its own Achilles heels, in a way most movies don't... its formal technique, its reckless obsessiveness, and its gutsy emotionalism are what I can't stop turning over in my mind.

August 4, 2010 Full Review Source: Nick's Flick Picks
Nick's Flick Picks

One need not be a Cameron acolyte to recognise that The Abyss has aged better than some of the films that outshone it back in the day.

December 14, 2009 Full Review Source: Antagony & Ecstasy
Antagony & Ecstasy

The movie was a bear to make and it shows onscreen, parading around a series of mesmerizing set-pieces that look deliciously hard-earned in ways our current CG-drenched filmmaking climate never allows.

August 26, 2009 Full Review Source: BrianOrndorf.com
BrianOrndorf.com

As a follow-up to Cameron's great sci-fi Aliens, The Abyss is too verbose for an actioner and the special effects, striking as they are, are not well integrated into the narrative, but it's still worth seeing.

September 19, 2007 Full Review Source: EmanuelLevy.Com | Comments (2)
EmanuelLevy.Com

What ultimately saves the film are its extraordinary sets and phenomenal Oscar-winning visual effects.

June 6, 2007 Full Review Source: TV Guide's Movie Guide
TV Guide's Movie Guide

Great blending of spectacle and drama.

May 11, 2007
ColeSmithey.com

Forget Titanic this is Cameron's best underwater flick

March 29, 2006 | Comments (3)
Atlantic City Weekly

What was once a well-made, well-acted mess is now a very poignant and satisfying sci-fi adventure.

September 10, 2005 Full Review Source: TheMovieReport.com
TheMovieReport.com

A gorgeous and fascinating underwater adventure.

April 17, 2005
eFilmCritic.com

A remarkable film...the vfx are super!

March 24, 2005 | Comment (1)
Moviehole

Click to read review

December 31, 2004 Full Review Source: StaciWilson.com
StaciWilson.com

For God's sake, make sure you have the director's cut. The theatrical cut was an abomination.

July 20, 2004
Needcoffee.com

Brilliant at sustaining tension and interest.

December 5, 2003 Full Review Source: Sci-Fi Movie Page
Sci-Fi Movie Page

Suffers due to its incredible length and slow pace, but intriguing, nonetheless.

April 1, 2003
Juicy Cerebellum

Pretty great underwater adventure.

March 10, 2003 Full Review Source: Austin Chronicle
Austin Chronicle

A classic.

October 5, 2002 Full Review Source: Filmcritic.com
Filmcritic.com

...the undersea adventure may have you waterlogged after the first hour.

April 20, 2002
Movie Metropolis

Audience Reviews for The Abyss

What makes this film even more absorbing than its spellbinding visual effects is the strong sense of urgency and danger created in such a suffocating underwater scenario, and the special edition is also more meaningful in times of so much war and mindless destruction.
September 22, 2013
blacksheepboy

Super Reviewer

The plot is actually quite simple. Essentially, it‚(TM)s a combination of Cameron‚(TM)s sea passion and his sci-fi passion. Think TITANIC meets ALIENS. Or, if you aren‚(TM)t quite familiar with either of those classics, for whatever reason, think of THE POSEIDON ADVENTURE, then elongate it to the point at which the (fewer) people aboard begin exploring the depths of the abyss, with some dazzling alien sequences evenly intertwined.

I hadn‚(TM)t ever seen THE ABYSS before now. In fact, it and PIRANHA TWO: THE SPAWNING remained for a long while the only two Cameron-directed feature films I hadn‚(TM)t seen. After deciding to rattle off the last two, I immediately jumped to renting the extension. I know Cameron can‚(TM)t let me down, as my absolute favorite director (in a tie with Hitchcock and Allen), and I always want to watch as much as possible of a film, so I thought it to be a great idea. For the first forty minutes or so, it wasn‚(TM)t. The ‚shallowness‚? (pun fully intended) of the exposition seemed overlong, and I‚(TM)d assume it was because of the addition of new material. The informal language, as well, got to me. Then, I started to realize something odd. As the tension started building up, I felt that nearly every minute of the opening was necessary, and the casualty and sarcasm the characters were using pervasively was continuing, but strengthening the believability.

GAIN A "DEEPER" INSIGHT:
http://themoviefreakblog.WordPress.com/review-the-abyss-special-edition
April 21, 2012
spielberg00

Super Reviewer

After the phenomenal action classic, Terminator, James Cameron pushed the boundaries yet again with astounding special effects with The Abyss. This is a special effects milestone that helped advance the use of CGI in film. The result is a very good looking film that has breath taking special effects. Cameron has always been keen on delivering a visual spectacle with his films and The Abyss definitely emphasizes that. In terms of special effects, The Abyss delivers some astounding effects. Where the film lacks slightly is in the story, the plot starts off well enough, but it ends somewhat on a dismal note. The film has an impressive cast of talented actors that are able to carry the film well enough to make it watchable, but halfway through the film; the story looses its fire and becomes a little silly. Of course that's a minor speed bump as you're more focused on the astounding visuals. The visuals are what really makes this film watchable, and this one of the films that James Cameron has made. The cast do a fine job with the script, and luckily the story manages to work for more than half of the film, but like I stated, it loses its fire slightly and some elements feel out of place. This is still a worthy film to watch despite its small flaws. There are more great things going for this film than bad things. Cameron crafted a fine special effects wonder that remains one of the best he's ever done.
August 27, 2011
TheDudeLebowski65
Jeff "The Dude" Lebowski

Super Reviewer

The Abyss is one of the Wonderful and Beautiful Alien Movies I have ever seen. I liked the Idea Aliens Underwater.
August 16, 2011
ScoopOnline
Wahida K

Super Reviewer

    1. Bud Brigman: Keep your pantyhose on.
    – Submitted by Zaenal A (2 years ago)
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