It’s hard to look at a body of work like James Cameron’s and find an “underrated” or “forgotten” film. But when you stack movies like “Titanic” and “Avatar” up against 1989’s “The Abyss,” that’s exactly what it becomes.
“The Abyss” follows a civilian diving team who enlist to help search for a lost nuclear submarine. When their submarine crashes unexpectedly the government sends in the Navy SEALS to help. This results in them having to face down a dangerous aquatic alien species. The film has gained a cult following but due to it being an earlier effort by Cameron it tends to be pushed to the wayside for updating. This is part of why the last physical release of the film came out on DVD.
But, the lauded director has seemingly confirmed there will be a 4K Ultra HD release of “The Abyss.” During an interview, Cameron said there’s a new master. He handled the last updates to the film’s hi-def remaster about a year ago. And he still sings the praises of Danish cinematographer, Mikael Salomon.
“We finished the transfer and I wanted to do it myself because Mikael [Salomon] did such a beautiful job with the cinematography on that film. It is truly, truly gorgeous cinematography,” Cameron said in 2021. “That was before I started to assert myself in terms of lighting and asking the cinematographer to do certain things. I’d compose with the camera and choose the lenses, but I left the lighting to him. He did a remarkable job on that movie that I appreciate better now than I did even as we were making it.”
“I’d also like to point out that he took one look at the first day’s dailies of the underwater lighting and he went out and learned to scuba dive,” Camron added. “He came in the following Monday morning, the worst diver in the world, but he reinvented underwater lighting. He went for indirect lighting and he got everybody doing things that were not just outside their comfort zone, they’d never even thought of it. Suddenly the underwater shots start to live up to the surface photography.” Even critics of “The Abyss” have to admit it is extremely well lit and shot.
As far as the update on the 4K release, that comes from journalist Arthur Cios, during the “Avatar: The Way of Water” press junket. As you can see, the original tweet is in French, so here’s the translation: “Since the question drags a lot on Twitter, I wanted to ask him. Afterwards, clearly, when you only have 9 minutes of interview, it’s complicated. BUT… I asked him off afterwards, and he told me he had a new master and it would be out by March 2023 max.”
Stay tuned to Nerdbot for details on “The Abyss” 4K Ultra HD release as they become available.