James Cameron is a renowned Canadian filmmaker. He is mostly known for directing The Terminator (1984), Avatar (2009) and Titanic (1997), the last two being the number one and number three highest-grossing films in history. He has also delivered a series of science-fiction films which have been restored over the years. Now, one of his most overlooked works, the 1989 film The Abyss, is getting its turn at restoration. James Cameron personally oversaw its 4K digital transfer.
To promote the new restoration, James Cameron spoke more about what he removed from creating the classic film. Cameron praised cinematographer Mikael Salomon’s role in creating the movie, specifically his work with lighting, which James Cameron didn’t appreciate enough when he was working on it, he told Space.com. He noted that he made The Abyss before he asserted himself in lighting work. For the film, he focused on the camera and lenses, and left the light work to Salomon.
“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,” James Cameron said about Salomon. “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.”
With the recent high-definition transfer, James Cameron hopes that audiences can now enjoy the film in an intact and refined condition. The restored film will be released as Blu-rays and streamed with its restored HD quality from now on. It has been previously shown on streaming services, but often with incorrect aspect ratios, distorting the movie’s quality, and thus, increased calls from fans for a hi-def transfer, The News Motion reports.
The Abyss, which starred Ed Harris, Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio, and Michael Biehn, featured the crew of a submarine that crashed unexpectedly underwater near the Cayman Trough. With the help of the government sending Navy SEALS to assist the crew came the discovery of foreign intelligent life in the ocean. After it was released, the film was celebrated for its special effects, earning $90 million at the box office worldwide, a substantial amount considering the film cost $41 million to make. James Cameron’s The Abyss was nominated for four Academy Awards and won Best Visual Effects.
In TIME’s 2010 issue, the magazine named James Cameron as one of the 100 most influential people in the world. He is an environmentalist, specifically, he’s a National Geographic sea explorer. Perhaps that is why he has contributed to underwater filming and remote vehicle technologies, ultimately helping to create the digital 3D Fusion Camera System. In fact, in 2012, Cameron piloted the creation of the Deepsea Challenger, a deep-diving submersible designed to reach the bottom of Challenger Deep, the deepest point on Earth, as far as we know. The Deepsea Challenger was reported to reach the Mariana Trench.
The release date for the restored The Abyss is yet to be announced, but James Cameron says that the restoration was finalized two months ago, so it is most likely that the film will be released in mid to late 2022.