DVD Tales: 11:14 to The Abyss

Beginning a trek through my DVD collection, I'll be discussing what the release means to me, why I wanted it, what I thought of it, etc.

11:14 (Greg Marcks, 2003)
This indy thriller is one of those timeline puzzles that unveils itself slowly but surely, with the implacable clock acting as the hand of fate. Got this based on the vague notion that I might have heard good things about it. I got lucky. An excellent example of guerilla filming, coupled with some major stars in really quirky roles (Patrick Swayze as the dumpy father and Hilary Swank in a role originally written as a man, especially). Not a major film by any means, they nonetheless pull it off successfully.

12 Monkeys (Terry Gilliam, 1995)
The girl I was going out with in '95 was, I think, both a Bruce Willis fan and a Brad Pitt fan, so of course we went to see 12 Monkeys. She was put off by the grime and the violence and really hated it. I didn't because I love time travel puzzles, and it visually made me think of Brazil. I didn't actually realize it was a Terry Gilliam film until the closing credits, but yeah, that made perfect sense! Monkeys has remained a perennial favourite and definitely watchable after all this time, though somewhat depressing, I'll admit it.

28 Days Later (Danny Boyle, 2002)
Again, a recent purchase, and a recent review which I won't repeat here. I didn't see 28 Days when it came out, but the buzz remained strong in my mind. The chance to get it cheap came up and so... Once again, a lucky "blind" purchase, as I enjoyed it a lot. Haven't seen 28 Weeks Later yet, but I want to. Online comments remain positive despite Boyle not sitting in the director's chair. At the very least, I'll buy it "blind" too.

2046 (Kar Wai Wong, 2004)
There are a few international films I've wanted since hearing them reviews on Siskel&Ebert, but was prevented from doing so because I couldn't quite remember the title or the director's name. 2046 was one of these. Sometimes you get lucky on a search and when I did, I grabbed it immediately. I reviewed it briefly on the blog after watching it, so I won't repeat myself. I'll just reiterate my love of his Kar Wai Wong's work here.

The Abyss (James Cameron, 1989)
My friend Rob Tam and I dearly wanted to see this underwater sf thriller back in '89, but we weren't too solid on the title. We got ropped into seeing Leviathan instead. That's the one with the Russian-created monster with the mouth in the hand... Anyway, it sucked something awful and since there were only four of us in the theater, they really should have sent us home. I finally saw the Abyss years later and it was much better. Better yet is the extended special edition on the DVD, which restores the proper "message" ending the film should always have had. Yes, it's a bit slower, but it makes a lot more sense. Cameron is mostly remembered for Terminator and Aliens (oh all right, and a little indy film called Titanic), which makes the Abyss rather underrated. And you know what? I think it's my favourite Cameron film. That scene where Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio has to drown is killer!

But what did YOU think? Next: Adventures of Superman to Alien Planet.


omne51 said...

The Abyss resides in that special place in my heart with the other Science Fiction movies I grew up with... Alien/Aliens, Terminator, Predator, The Thing - Kurt Russel version (best movie ending ever, in my opinion). Abyss was very underrated and is a quality movie. And I agree the extended ending is a must see and adds to the message of the movie.


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