Thursday, 17 February 2011

Sanctum 3D: Movie Review

Sanctum 3D: Movie Review

Sanctum 3D
Rating: 3/10
Cast: Richard Roxburgh, Ioan Gruffudd, Rhys Wakefield
Director: Alister Grierson
Inspired by a true story, Sanctum 3D is the tale of a group of explorers in Papua New Guinea who are checking out one of the biggest caves in the world.
They've been at it for a while - and are determined to find out how the water in the Esa-Ala cave system makes its way to the sea.
But a group of five of them - a playboy millionaire and his girlfriend, a father and son (who have a strained relationship) and a former diver who doesn't dive anymore - are in deep water when a cyclone unexpectedly blows in, trapping them below ground.
With no other option but to find a way out, the gang find tempers fraying and obstacles in their path as they try to make it out alive....
Firstly, let's get this out of the way - the film comes emblazoned with the words James Cameron and 3D, giving you a sense of expectation before you go in.
My advice - forget that - because Cameron only executive produced the flick and helped with some of the technology.
This thriller may have some good tense moments here and there - but with cheesy, clunky dialogue such as: "This cave's not gonna beat me" and "Life's not a dress rehearsal", you know you're clearly in C list disaster movie territory.
Richard Roxburgh is suitably gruff as Frank, the leader of the expedition whose failed relationship with his son Josh (Rhys Wakefield) doesn't quite provide some of the requisite tension throughout. It's far too obvious what's going to happen between them and there's little to leave you rooting for their survival.
Perhaps worse though is over the top Ioan Gruffudd who seems to spend most of the film simply SHOUTING his dialogue to try and convey frustration and emotion - goodness knows what they were thinking on that front.
Coupled with characters who don't listen to the experts (and is therefore marked for death early on), the script really needed an overhaul before it went into commission.
I will concede though that the underwater sequences are beautifully shot, with the 3D bringing to life the aquatic habitat - and early on, there's a certain amount of nervy claustrophobic moments as the mainly inexperienced divers go deeper.

The problem is that Sanctum becomes as much of an ordeal for the audience as it does for the characters - and with a lack of compassion or sympathy for any of them, you're really denied the chance to care about whether they survive or not.

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