Posted on 2/06/11 03:25 PM
Sanctum is a new 3D movie marked by J Cameron name, however in fact he was only an executive producer and didn't take part in production of this picture.
The story is quite a simple and loosely based on true events. The plot is about underwater cave exploration in Papua New Guinea. Several speleologists are trapped in unexplored cave system because of storm rain cyclone starts flooding this cave. They realized that their only hope of survival is dangerous travel into the heart of the cave following the current of the underworld river leading into the ocean. However their situation is more difficult because the personal conflicts in the group arise, especially between father, who is the leader and his son.
I must say that the initial premise of the movie was very tempting. In fact, the large cave system is the only remaining places on the Earth, which haven't been explored by humankind so a movie about such a bold expedition into unknown could be great. Unfortunately the picture itself is rather disappointing than exciting. It's one the movies having a great potential but suffer from flaw execution and lack of substance.
First of all, the acting was terrible. No one actor gave riveting performance, during the most of the movie I didn't see almost any facial expression or other signs of good performing. Moreover, dialogues were clumsy, I have never found myself in so terrible a situation but it's unlikely that I would waste my time and energy on overdramatized and awkward monologues. Alongside acting the script is also pathetic and totally predictable. I mean if you saw a few movies about a group of people being in dramatic situation you needn't to be a clairvoyant to anticipate what will be next. Despite some really good and tense moment the movie is too long and this is the reason why I find it a bit dull. When nothing dramatic happens the wooden acting and dialogues starts in order to create melodramatic and unlikely (in such a situation) scenes.
Although its flaws the movie isn't an excruciating disaster because other elements works quite well. The cinematography is excellent and it provides the real sensation of being in the cave, especially all underwater scenes were beautifully rendered. However I guest that usage of 3D in such claustrophobic locations wasn't very clever idea. The great plus of Sanctum is minimal amount of CG, which is somewhat unique nowadays, when most productions are heavily based on computer effects. In spite of being too melodramatic this picture has good, captivating moments which paid my attention, nevertheless, all tension was effectively killed by many overlong sequences.
In conclusion the movie doesn't work well neither as popcorn adventure movie nor drama. The only reason for watching could be outstanding cinematography and decent use of 3D.