The Abyss - Guy Night

While on the topic of favorite movies one day, I came to discover that all of my friends had never seen one of my favorite sci-fi films, James Cameron's The Abyss. But with life and work taking every weekend away for the foreseeable future I had to take deeper measures to orchestrate a proper viewing. Mrs. Sci-fi had a party planned with her friends and sisters two months in the future. This quickly became the landing zone for my guy night, and what could be better than watching the 1989 summer action movie of the year? (unofficial) With a date on the books and over a month to design the day I fashioned a facebook event and began my plans.

I situated our couch and every comfy chair I could into a half circle. I must have looked a little obsessive testing out all of the seats repeatedly to make sure they had a good viewing angle, distance to snacks and optimum coaster clearance.

To keep interest in the film high during the weeks leading up to the night I posted bits of trivia and movie themed quotes on Facebook. All guests were warned "they would have to undergo decompression for 2 weeks after experiencing such an awesome movie, but it is well worth it."

"Only a week and a half till The Abyss! Not to overhype this movie, but one of the parts I like most about it is that it is actually shot in water. 89 was just at the dawn of CGI technology so if you wanted water, you had to shoot in water. It makes the whole movie much more real and means any sort of remake today would just pale in comparison."

In order to make the abyss itself fee as real as possible I borrowed a HD projector and Soundbar. This created a glorious 8' by 3' image on my main wall. The Abyss was shot at a very wide 2.20:1 ratio, making it over twice as wide as it is high. We would be watching the directors cut version of the film, clocking in at 171 minutes of underwater action! The theatrical version of the film removes much of the third act explanation which ties much of the film together. This contributed greatly to the films lack of financial success, making only 54M over it's 69M budget. This was James Cameron's third major picture, hot off the heels of his sequel to the Alien franchise, Cameron followed an established pattern of biting off an overwhelming film before falling back to established works.

  • 1984 - The Terminator
  • 1986 - Aliens
  • 1989 - The Abyss
  • 1991 - Terminator 2: Judgement Day
  • 1994 - True Lies
  • 1997 - Titanic
  • 2009 - Avatar

Peter Jackson would mimic this trend with King Kong, his first film after the Lord of the Rings trilogy. Kong was followed by a return to Middle Earth in The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey.

Two nights before the guy night I performed a system test to make sure all of the components were functioning. Mr.s Sci-fi and I watched the 1977 theatrical version of Star Wars! Which was awesome! On the night before the abyss we felt it best to check the system again and scrutinized a blu-ray of Back to the Future. I would hate to have all of my guests come out, only to discover a scratched disc or faulty projector lamp. The second test showed that projecting straight onto the wall didn't display the best image. There was some reflection/glare from the paint and the texture of the wall blurred out the sharpness of the image. My answer was a sheet, pinned right onto the wall. Fortunately, sheets are made 8' long.

The guy night was a complete success! It had just enough structure to keep the movie starting on time but allowed everyone to come and go as their weekend schedules allowed.