Wednesday, August 31, 2011

SANCTUM (2011)

If you live anywhere in the US of A, chances are you've been bombarded by commercials and trailers for Sanctum. If this were any other movie, I guess it'd be fine, since big movies tend to get their stuff plastered all over TV anyways, but Sanctum's ad blitz was different. Right from the beginning, your puny, peasant brain is force fed huge amounts of James Cameron's name every five seconds or so. "From executive producer James Cameron... / The director of Titanic and Avatar... / The guy with a hard on for 3D... / CONVINCED YET?..." This is unfortunate, since I first saw this trailer and said to myself this might be some sort of spiritual successor to one of my favorite movies of all time, The Abyss. It's too bad James Cameron pretty much just stuck his name on the trailers to get people to pay up the $20 or whatever those ridiculous 3D movie tickets cost these days to watch this stinker.


Frank McGuire (Richard Roxburgh) is an veteran cave explorer, off on an expedition in Papua New Guinea. His son Josh (Rhys Wakefield) flies out alongside his dad's friend and money supplier Carl (Ioan Gruffudd) to meet up with his father. They're also accompanied by Carl's girlfriend, Victoria, who is apparently just there for eye candy since I can't recall a single contribution she makes to further the plot throughout the entire movie. In any case, the team has already set up a camp inside the unexplored cave, complete with video and phone communications and all those other gizmos that always tend to break when a catastrophe occurs.  


While everyone gets settled in and ready for the dive, Frank and his partner Judes go off by themselves to check out an unexplored section. Of course, they just broke the #1 rule of survival movies: don't separate yourself from the group. Sure enough, while making their way back, the air hose on Judes' scuba gear breaks, and she drowns. Back at base camp, Josh throws a hissy fit, saying that Frank could've done more to save her, proving what an ignorant little tard Josh really is. The team decides to pack up and leave, when all of a sudden (duh?) a tropical cyclone breaks out over the island, flooding the caves with rain water, and forcing the group to have to find a way out of the massive caves before their air runs out.

It's always worrying when you watch a movie and you recognize one of the stars but cant remember what the hell they've been in or you realize you have no idea what their name is. Ioan Gruffud (how the hell do you pronounce that anyway?) was in the Fantastic Four movie, and after you watch Sanctum, it'll be perfectly clear to see why he hasn't been cast in anything else you might have seen. He over acts in every single scene, he generally comes off as an asshole, and tries hard but fails at being menacing. It's like rubbing your eyeballs on a cheesegrater. That's how bad he is in this. Wakefield and Roxburgh are also pretty unknown, but at least they do a good job of portraying the son and father who share equal parts disdain and respect for each other. Everyone else is mediocre. This really is no surprise: people who watch Sanctum are doing it because of the 3D (which is very well done actually), but the characters are forgettable and boring.

Sanctum is a gimmick movie, plain and simple. If you want to see it, watch it in theaters while you still can. If it wasn't for the 3D action sequences, this thing would have gone straight to DVD, sharing the shelves with other great classics like Snakes on a Train and Transmorphers. If 3D is not your thing, don't bother

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