Recently, The Terminator and Titanic director James Cameron dropped some seriously exciting news regarding arguably his most requested and highest anticipated blu-ray, the 1989 epic science fiction underwater thriller The Abyss. In a new interview Cameron conducted with Variety where he talks up the impending Avatar sequels, the movie mogul indicated The Abyss underwent a "wet-gate 4K scan of the original negative" which is going to look "insanely good".
What this means is the film itself will be submerged in a liquid which will cut down on cracks and scratches in the image as well as remove print damage and blemishes in the cleaning process. Also adding his team will be doing an "authoring pass in the DI for blu-ray and HDR at the same time", it sounds more like the seemingly endless delays in the authoring process were waiting for 4K UHD media to come out and take advantage of the high definition master. For what is shaping up to be the most anticipated and long awaited home video release since the Ultimate Edition of DVD of Ridley Scott's Legend which went through every stage including the cancellation process, The Abyss has seen several announcements which only seemed to vanish into thin air and further more requests for the title. Having come up in a recent podcast for The Movie Sleuth, that Cameron himself is breaking the news makes it pretty official. Though an official release date has yet to be confirmed, word on the street is that we should expect an Abyss blu-ray early next year, which is fantastic news for the home video community and James Cameron completists.
Where Cameron and his Lightstorm Entertainment team did incredible restoration work on the high definition remasters for The Terminator, Aliens, Terminator 2: Judgment Day and Titanic, the blu-ray community has yet to see any true releases of The Abyss or True Lies outside of outdated non-anamorphic DVD transfers better suited for 4:3 tube televisions than 16:9 units. Up to this point, the only way to enjoy The Abyss or True Lies on a high definition television has been to zoom into the 4:3 letterboxed image which only magnifies the limitations of the early rendered digital masters. Having seen every incarnation The Abyss has had to offer on home video, from the widescreen VHS tape to the THX Certified laserdisc of the extended special edition director's cut, I've yet to see the film in a version that does justice to the painstaking work undertaken by Cameron and his crew on what is legendarily the most strenuous film production since Ridley Scott's Blade Runner. Reportedly there was a European PAL DVD release of The Abyss with an anamorphic widescreen master but import costs for this marginal upgrade in the image rendered purchasing this item pointless. To go from nearly thirty years of 4:3 low definition masters to a fully restored 16:9 remaster will present a night versus day difference in the image quality as well as allowing viewers to see it as it hasn't been seen in over three decades. This is tremendously exciting news for cinephiles eager to dive back into the endless deep Cameron and his team dove into back in 1989!