Sunday, June 15, 2014

Movies by year: 1989

(No fooling, there are definitely spoilers ahead)

In 1989 there were some great movies. Heathers was a fantastic black comedy, introducing most of us to the sideshow that was Christian Slater. When Harry Met Sally had us all ordering "what she's having." Harrison Ford and Sean Connery brought us Indiana Jones And The Last Crusade, wherein we learn the origin of Indy's name. Kevin Kline hunted The January Man while trying to get an espresso. Dead Calm gave me the heebie jeebies about being out on the ocean. Kenneth Branagh was outstanding in Henry V. Leningrad Cowboys Go America had the Russian brothers with the big hair and pointy shoes touring the midwest. And Shirley Valentine discovered that "boat is boat, fuck is fuck." I could have written about any of these really, but I chose:

The Abyss

So we've got a oil rig. And it's on the ocean floor. And the foreman (Ed Harris) is married to - and separated from - the rig designer (Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio), and she's coming down. Already, that's an interesting movie.

But then we've got a downed Russian sub. And Navy Seals. And nuclear warheads. And international tension that's sidling up to war. Even better.

And then, wait, the one Navy Seal dude (Michael Biehn, with a super icky moustache) is showing signs of pressure sickness and getting paranoid. And there's a hurricane coming in and in the process of trying to detach from the surface ship they almost all die. Tense yet?

But wait, there's more. ALIENS. Well, water aliens. Who are very curious about the rig and the sub and the nuclear warhead. And man, did the water tentacle look cool. And the aliens looked pretty decent too. Enough for you?

WAIT THERE'S MORE. One of the guys on the rig has a pet rat. I know that's not exciting, but it's an important addition because they use him to actually demonstrate... BREATHABLE FLUID, which is actually a thing. It's insane, seriously. So cool. And the designer DIES and is resurrected after being dragged through the cold ocean. And the foreman goes way down in a trench breathing the fluid and has to disable a nuclear bomb but can't see colours to know which wire to cut.

Already good at the time, it was vastly improved with the DVD Special Edition release, so many previously cut scenes were re-added that the things that didn't quite make sense suddenly were crystal. I can watch this one over and over.

How about you? Are you a fan of The Abyss?

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