After director James Cameron made a name for himself with Terminator and Aliens, he was given the rare position in Hollywood of being allowed to do whatever he wanted, spending whatever budget he thought was necessary. That would eventually lead to Titanic and Avatar, but the seeds for both were planted in The Abyss, Cameron’s 1989 flick about deep sea diving that at the time was one of the most ambitious films made.
The set was made from a deconstructed nuclear plant tower filled with a gazillion gallons of water. While most movies under the sea were shot with trickery and shortcuts, Cameron had to have the real deal. The end result was dozens of stories about nearly everyone in the film almost drowning to death at some point, including Cameron himself. Fortunately it worked out to be a triumph, not a tragedy. 20th Century Studios has announced a theatrical re-release for The Abyss, sporting a spiffy new 4K transfer. This will be the “special edition” that includes the parts Cameron was forced to cut for time in 1989.
Why is this news? Why can’t you just see The Abyss at home? Because…you can’t. You literally can’t.
For reasons that have never been clear to me or anyone else, The Abyss hasn’t been released to home video formats in a long time. It has NEVER come out on Blu-Ray, and if 20th Century is making this big a deal out of a 4K restoration, that could mean we might finally have the chance to own it in the near future. As it is, the studio has not announced plans to put the movie on disc yet.
Either The Abyss’s brief appearance in theaters means a 4K home release, or December 6 is literally your only chance at legally seeing a high-def version of this movie. Whichever it is, you should think about getting a ticket anyway, as it’s a good movie and it doesn’t appear on the big screen very often.