Tapped into my nostalgia for mainstream 80s and 90s cinema's return to Old Hollywood Romanticism. James Cameron pulls off an almost Hawksian tone between the male and female leads, yet never reduces them to outdated gender roles. Unabashedly earnest in its calling for human solidarity, rediscovering this—in 35mm no less!—provided me with a much needed dose of optimism.
After decades of cherishing Cameron, I finally got around to watching "The Abyss", and to my amazement (but not surprise) this is another masterpiece. An important key piece in Cameron's oeuvre, this film contains several major themes and visuals that tie in with his other films, especially "Avatar". A dedicated Ed Harris gives a brilliant performance at the centre of the story, and gives a heart to the whole.
Yeah, the ending is a little much. Everything leading up to it, however, is Cameron showing his true potential. It combines the director's love for the high-octane with the charming sense of youthful wonder that would become more apparent in his later works. Claustrophobic, gritty and wonderfully characterized with a career-best performance from Ed Harris.
Glorious bursts of operatic cinema, not only as a powerful variation of space sci-fi, but also as a big reactionary move towards studio shooting, which has to become a contraption through new stakes. Sadly, the worst part of Cameron is his "humanism", perhaps a Cold War feature, always available for redemption through manifestations of the sublime. My version was missing the aliens' broadcast, and thank god.
It takes a huge amount of time to build a suspense that is not based on goofy personalities and environmental propaganda, but when it does, it turns into a heart-wrenching odyssey with humanism and love entwined in a deepest places of mankind's only home. And it is concluded with the ending where epic scale, stunning visuals and emotionality are all together reaching their peak.