Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Plunging to unknown depths

The Abyss...

A sort of film review.

A wet, cold bank holiday monday, just the sort of afternoon when you want to curl up on the settee and watch a good film for three hours of your life while waiting for tomorrow and work to restore some order to your life.

And on one of the Sky Movie channels was, The Abyss.

I've seen it before.

But as became clear towards the end, I apparently have not seen the whole film before, even given that this was advertised as the "special edition" it was patently obvious that I have not seen all of this film before.

Because if I had remembered how it ends then I would not have wasted those three hours of my life on monday afternoon, three hours that I will never get back now and will have to write off as another poor film experience.

It all starts off quite well, its 1989, no it really was 1989 when the film was made, yes I know, it doesn't seem that long agao but it was, and it was James Cameron that wrote and directed the film so we know exactly where to point the finger of blame - if only I'd watched the whole of The Abyss back in 1989 then I'd have known to avoid "Titanic" some years later, still, we live and learn.

It all starts off well and its nice to be reminded that in 1989 all Americans were terrified of Russians and any weird plot or subterfuge could be blamed on them, "its those damn pesky Russians" was the most over-used plot line of that era although it now seems, odd.

So a US nuclear submarine sinks in mysterious circumstances and lies on the sea bed right on the edge of the Cayman Shelf, an underwater chasm that, if you wish to believe James Cameron is 18000 feet deep, and helpless as the US Navy is to rescue its submariners from the shallow waters off the Cayman Islands (the chasm excepted) it calls in a specialist team of divers who bring with them their specialist equipment in a specialist boat in order to find any signs of life in the submarine.

There are no signs of life inside the submarine, in fact there are lots of signs of death, so thats that and the specialists can pack up and go home and the film is a wrap after half an hour.

Thats what should have happened.

Instead we get a plot twist where a small team of some more specialists fromt he US Navy get involved and in the true spirit of Hollywood they are led by a nutter who thinks that all Russians are baddies and anything unusual that happens is due to the Russians and when unusual things happen then you have to kill everyone, what a good job that people like Lt Hiram Coffey exist, for if he didn't then this film and many others like it would have been straight to video and unknown outside of James camerons close circle of friends.

So the film rambles on and Lt Hiram Coffey gets madder and madder with a nuclear warhead in his cabin until he is ready to blow up most of the carribean with it, there's a big fight, Coffey is not seen again in the film but the warhead ends up at the bottom of the Cayman Shelf with three hours to go before it explodes because of course the bad guy Coffey managed to rig up a timer on it using his alarm clock and some string one night while he was listening to the Late Show on the radio, just for fun you understand but as his contract in the film has now expired then no-one can ask him how he did it or in fact whether or not he was only kidding.

Enter some dubious science fact-ion about whether or not people can breath under water, admittedly its supposed to be "special" water and in breathing it you can go much deeper under water than anyone else has ever done in the whole world, ever, so there, its fact, isn't it, well it may be theory then, have a look at the imdb web site for the ongoing debate that has raged ever since 1989 over whether or not "special" water exists - film buffs are such fucking cretins sometimes, tell them man can breath under water and they believe it immediately and argue like fook when you try and tell them it doesn't work as thousands of drowning victims could testify every year, if they were alive enough to testify that is.

It gets dafter, while the hero of the film, Virgil "Bud" Brigman descends to 18,000 feet breathing water rather than air (fook me it just doesn't even sound plausible does it) he discovers that in order to disable the nuclear warhead he has the choice of two wires to cut and unfortunately the villian Coffey chose two wire colours that look exactly like each othere in the pitch blackness that is 18000 feet underwater, well they would wouldn't they, there is nothing like the off-the-shelf tense moment of all bomb disposal films when the hero hovvers his pliers over one wire, then the other, and someone in his earpiece is telling him, "don't pick the wrong one for gods sake".

But the daftest bit is saved for last, after he has cut the correct wire and finds that he hasn't got enough "special" water to get back to the surface he sits down on the bottom of the ocean to spend his last five minutes when along comes an alien space craft, what are tha chances of that happening then ?

There you are, sitting on the sea bed 18000 feet below what should be your natural environment when along comes a UFO and offers you a lift to the surface and while its doing that it tells you how naughty mankind has been in wanting to kill each other all the time and we are offered via the guilt complex of James Cameron a sunday school lecture on how nasty humans can be, its probably the most awful sequence of film that I have ever witnessed, truly dreadful.

To say I cringed at the last half hour is not the case, I was twisted in knots of embarrassment when the epic three hour turdfest actually finished and left wondering how I'd managed to miss that bit at the end when I last saw the film several years ago.

So there you have it - "The Abyss" - sinking to depths that no film should ever sink again.

I strongly recommend that you avoid it at all costs.

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