James Cameron has had a long and storied career. He gained prominence after he directed the sci-fi action film The Terminator, a success which would eventually allow him to direct Aliens, Titanic, Avatar (which we liked quite a lot), and many others. One of the films I didn't mention that also deserves recognition is his 1989 film The Abyss. Michael Biehn, one of the main actors in the film, holds every bit of Cameron's career in extremely high regard. Well, except for a notable “misstep.” And that misstep is the ending of The Abyss.
Speaking with The Hollywood Reporter, Michael Biehn commented on how the technical achievements required to make the ending work hadn't happened yet, resulting in a film that felt disjointed, especially after a strong second act. If you haven't seen the film but want to know what James Cameron and his crew were working with, there are pictures for that.
It's the only misstep in Jim Cameron's career that I know of — the end of that movie. If that third act had been able to top that second act, there would have been Academy Awards all over the place.
Honestly, that's not really a misstep. A misstep would be the entirety of Dark Phoenix, a few scenes in The Last Jedi, and maybe Jon Favreau's underwhelming remake of the The Lion King. It seems like in the case of The Abyss, the constraints of the time in which it was filmed were to blame, not James Cameron's storytelling abilities. I guess we've resorted to blaming filmmakers for being ambitious (totally kidding, kind of).
The Abyss made $90 million worldwide after its release in 1989. It has an 89% fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes, albeit from only 44 critics, and an 83% audience score from 109,000 users. The film also has an "A-" CinemaScore from polled moviegoers.
Michael Biehn portrayed US Navy SEAL Lieutenant Hiram Coffey, a major character in the film who ends up being a big problem for the rest of the crew. Biehn starred in a few of James Cameron's films, including Aliens and The Terminator, as well as movies such as Tombstone and The Rock. His parts in James Cameron's movies were usually characters who were in the military, something for which he quickly became known.
But what do you think? Does the ending of The Abyss ruin the entire movie or is Michael Biehn just being critical because he's so attached to the project? Sound off in the comments below, and keep your eye on our news feed for more industry-related news, including updates on James Cameron's Avatar sequels. Keep up with everything heading to the big screen this year with our 2019 movie release date schedule.