I've always wondered what's "really" underneath all that ocean water that covers three-fourths of the earth's surface. Could there be more than just the critters that adorn my plate when I visit Red Lobster?
Well, I must confess, I just lied: I really don't think about things like that, but James Cameron's handsome film THE ABYSS certainly tweaks at my brain matter and introduces a most interesting story that we humans are not even alone on our own planet when it comes to intelligent life.
Yes, we have drama: a downed nuclear sub deep in the ocean, an underwater oil exploration platform hijacked by the feds to go on a rescue mission, and a Navy SEAL commander just itching to go bonkers. We also have a failed romance suddenly rekindled, even though it's beyond me why anyone would want to light a fire with grouchy engineer Lindsey Brigman (Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio), but for whatever reason ex-husband Bud Brigman (Ed Harris) does. And then we are treated to magnificent underwater camera shots, high-tech gadgets and machines, and special effects as only James Cameron can paint on celluloid.
As viewers, we are asked to jettison our common sense to the high seas as we watch people swim thousands of feet underwater without protective gear, but that's okay: the assault on disbelief is only beginning. With escalating tensions between the U.S. and the old U.S.S.R. coming to a head, the pesky human race suddenly receives an eye-opening comeuppance by a superior form of intelligent life that comes up from the abyss to paternally warn us to knock it off. Lesson learned, planet saved. I'll have the shrimp scampi with extra sauce.