The Abyss 4K Release Canceled Because Of Ratings

By TeeJay Small | Published

largest organism

After announcing the 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray release of his acclaimed film The Abyss just a few months ago, auteur filmmaker James Cameron has unfortunately opted to cancel the special edition disc in the UK, citing censorship issues.

Disney Had Issues

The issue occurred due to a scene in which a rat attempts and struggles to breathe underwater, which some have seen as depicting the torture of an animal.

Apparently, Disney, who now owns the release rights to the film, was told that they would need to cut the scene in order to sell the remastered copy in the UK, but they could not green-light the change without James Cameron’s express permission.

James Cameron’s Version

James Cameron has made it very clear in promotional materials for the upcoming rerelease that the special edition disc would display The Abyss as he always intended it to be seen.

As a result, the Avatar filmmaker refused to allow the rat scene to be cut from certain copies of the updated disc.

This decision places Disney in a stalemate with the British classification board, who will not allow the scene to air due to national censorship requirements.

A Criminal Offense?

When asked for a comment regarding the snafu with The Abyss, the BBFC voraciously defended their censorship rules, explaining that the content shown in the film is the depiction of a criminal offense.

Such content would incur legal consequences upon the distributor if they refuse to edit the scene out in accordance with Britain’s classification guidelines.

In the UK, it is illegal to film or disseminate any scene which involves the intentional infliction of pain upon an animal.

Not The First Issue

the abyss

Apparently, this isn’t the first time this controversy has come up. When The Abyss first released in 1989, censors in the UK examined the scene and determined that it violated the law and could not be shown to British audiences.

The BBFC sought expert advice regarding the depiction in 2023 and ultimately found that their understanding of the scene in which a man submerges a rat under water had not changed.

A Disastrous Production

james cameron the abyss

This is only the latest in a long and storied series of disasters that occurred when filming The Abyss, which some have referred to as one of the most grueling and miserable productions in Hollywood history.

Ed Helms suffered through near-daily anxiety attacks after almost drowning to death on the set of the production, and many cast and crew members feared for their lives while navigating the practical water effects of the highly technical film.

Cast and crew members even took to deriding the production with nicknames such as “The Abuse” or “Son Of Abyss” while filming.

Meant To Be A Celebration

the abyss

To make matters worse, James Cameron went way over budget while crafting the movie, resulting in the filmmaker being forced to shoehorn in an anticlimactic ending, which he still laments to this day.

The 4K Blu-ray release was meant to celebrate Cameron’s work, finally allowing mass audiences to consume the work of art as the filmmaker had always intended it to be seen.

Now, it seems that a large portion of Cameron’s audience won’t be able to see the film at all, and all because of a single scene that could easily have relied on the use of a prosthetic or CGI animal to get the point across.

Source: Film Stories