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Parents' Guide to

The Abyss

By Charles Cassady Jr., Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 15+

Undersea UFO adventure is breathtaking but intense.

Movie PG-13 1989 140 minutes
The Abyss Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this movie.

Community Reviews

age 13+

Based on 4 parent reviews

age 12+

This title has:

Educational value
Great messages
age 13+

A true review of The Abyss

"The Abyss", compared to today's standards, is most certainly a family film and a classic that's on par with "Close Encounters of the Third Kind". The story has very rounded characters, each with their own issues and quirks. The plot starts as a personal story but ends up being an event of huge proportions that effect everyone. What parents should expect: This movie can open dialogues about subjects such as - Life and Death - What lies in the sea - Otherworldly encounters and how could they effect us. - People's behavior and the differences with those behaviors. Another reviewer mentioned slight nudity and cruelty to an animal in this film. The slight nudity is justified as one protagonist is reviving another protagonist via CPR. The proper technique is to open the shirt or get to the lowest layer so the pressure applied can be more effective. The scene where a mouse is breathing water was carefully conducted, while initially shocking for some, it is a scene that should make one ponder on the ideology of oxygenated water breathing. Factoid: The mice used for the scene were totally fine and were thriving after the takes. Consider The Abyss as a one-time view. It is groundbreaking both cinematically during that time period and in story being so full of depth in many ways, one of which is the human condition to fear the unknown. I highly recommend this film if you've never seen it.

This title has:

Great messages

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (4 ):
Kids say (14 ):

Lots of orchestral crescendos and awesome visuals in this huge-scale underwater epic. The film was so highly touted in its production phase that rival Hollywood studios had time to get lookalike (and inferior) marine sci-fi flicks (Deep Star Six and Leviathan, if you had to ask) already in theaters by the time perfectionist director James Cameron released THE ABYSS. Even then, Cameron was less than satisfied, and in DVD and VHS you can find both the original Abyss and a "special edition" that attempted to better blend the alien-first-contact story into the plot. Even so, it mixes like the proverbial oil and water. Cameron's realization of the characters' high-tech, deep-sea survival ordeal is so fascinating (and excruciatingly suspenseful) in its own right that the sci-fi element seems intrusive -- a Close Encounter of the Rather Unnecessary Kind.

Younger viewers who can even tolerate the likes of Jar Jar Binks will be more accepting of the aliens. James Cameron later dispensed with the UFO stuff to offer a vivid documentary nature feature Aliens of the Deep.

Movie Details

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