Reviewed by: Daniel Thompson
caves in the Bible
“Panic is the vulture that sits on your shoulder.”
ANXIETY, worry and fear—What does the Bible say? Answer
strained parent/child relationships
euthanasia of the mortally wounded—mercy drownings
SUICIDE—What does the Bible say? Answer
If a Christian commits suicide, will they go to Heaven? Answer
death in the Bible
|Featuring:||Ioan Gruffudd (Carl Hurley), Richard Roxburgh (Frank McGuire), Rhys Wakefield (Josh McGuire), Alice Parkinson (Victoria), Daniel Wyllie (George), Allison Cratchley (Judes), Christopher Baker (J.D.), John Garvin (Jim Sergeant), Sean Dennehy (Chopper Pilot)|
|Producer:||Sanctum Australia, Great Wight Productions/Osford Films, Relativity Media, See all »|
“The only way out is down.”
In 2009, filmmaker James Cameron released “Avatar”, which has since become the number one film in American box office history. Cameron used a 3D camera system that he helped invent, and while some argue the merits of “Avatar” as a film, no one argues that it was a stunning technical achievement. This new 3D process was immersive and a marvel. It was, also, very lucrative, which meant that, for better or worse, “Avatar” ushered in an era filled with 3D movies.
While this era has produced a few great 3D movies, most have had problems. Some movies like “Clash of the Titans” and “The Last Airbender” did not use Cameron’s technology and just wanted to capitalize on the profitability of 3D. Other films like “Resident Evil: Afterlife” did use the technology, but were poorly made. The new cave-thriller “Sanctum” not only uses the technology made for “Avatar,” but also carries James Cameron’s name as a producer, so it can’t help but be great right? Unfortunately, it can.
Loosely based on a true story, “Sanctum” is the story of a billionaire, played by Ioan Gruffud from “Amazing Grace,” who pays an expert cave exploration team to explore the last unknown cave in the world in Queensland, Australia. They believe that deep in the cave, they can discover a passage to the ocean. As you might have guessed, trouble ensues, communication is lost, and the team is stranded at the bottom of the cave with minimal supplies and must find their way out.
The plot to “Sanctum” is nothing more than a skeleton to hang pounds and pounds of effects on. It reminded me of the old Jackie Chan movies, where the plot was little more than a device that moved the talented Chan from stunt to stunt. Also, it is clear that little time went into the script and character development. For this film to work, the viewer needs to care about the characters and resonate with their plight. Neither of those things happens in the film, and that is thanks to one-dimensional characters and a terrible script that contains laughable dialogue. The only lines in the movie that are not hilarious are those that are intended to be.
The one aspect of “Sanctum” that can be commended is the effects. Emplying the same technology used in “Avatar,” the film bursts on the screen and surrounds the viewer in the world of the characters. If you are a rock climber or deep sea diver, the film delivers an experience that has probably never been seen before on film. “Sanctum” was shot on location in Australia, and viewing this film in IMAX 3D almost made it worth the price of admission. Almost.
Along with being poorly acted, directed, and scripted, “Sanctum” earns its “R” rating with some unnecessary content. While most of the film takes place in a cave, some violence and gore is expected. There are several deaths in the film that are shot up close and are gruesome. From drowning to skin peeling off of bone, the camera lingers, and the viewers see the deaths up close. Also, there are two assisted suicides in the film which raise a completely different set of questions for viewers. Along with the violence, there is one brief shot of a male’s rear end in a scene that is played for humor, but falls flat. Also, strong language is present throughout the film, that includes, but is not limited to, over 20 f-words, as well as many uses of God’s name.
“Sanctum” does include a story arc between a father and son that are both in the cave. With some more development, this arc could have been the saving grace of the film. Unfortunately, it isn’t, and the viewer is left with a film that looks great, but is a mess to watch. Outdoor-adventure minded viewers might enjoy “Sanctum,” but for everyone else, there are plenty of other 3D options at the cinema that will gladly take your money.
Violence: Extreme / Profanity: Extreme / Sex/Nudity: Moderate
See list of Relevant Issues—questions-and-answers.