March 1, 2011
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Director: Alister Grierson
Writer: John Garvin/Andrew Wight
Producer: Ben Browning/Leesa Kahn/Ryan Kavanaugh/Michael Maher/Brett Popplewell/Peter Rawlinson/Aaron Ryder/Andrew Wight
Starring: Richard Roxburgh/Rhys Wakefield/Alice Parkinson/Dan Wyllie/Ioan Gruffudd
BBFC Certification: 15
Duration: 109 minutes
Although the trailer looked a little interesting, Sanctum is something that is stunningly shot with some beautiful visuals and some nice camerawork when underwater. Unfortunately, this is where the positive things about this movie ends and where the negative things begin. Sanctum is a brilliant example of cheesy cliché overload with a uninteresting story and actors that could be replaced by cardboard cut-outs (well they couldn’t since they’d be soggy for the majority of the time but you get the idea). An underwater cave diving team experiences a life-threatening crisis during an expedition to the unexplored and least accessible cave system in the world. Sanctum’s cast was wooden and nothing they did made you feel anything for their characters. The actors and actresses aren’t exactly terrible but most of the time, they looked a little bored and it shows through their performances. The movie has some one-dimensional, stereotypical characters. You have the hot-headed son with the strained father-son relationship, the father who’s a well-known explorer and a harsh leader making decisions that makes the others hate him, the character who thinks she knows best but doesn’t and the charming character who slowly turns selfish and psychotic. The characters were either stupid, uninteresting or both and most of them were both. One of the characters were not experienced in diving and she wouldn’t listen to anything the experienced explorer said and she ended up putting her team and herself in danger constantly and it annoyed you. Most of the characters were just so painfully predictable and the lines they were coming out with were either cliché or just plain terrible. An example of this was one of the characters before entering the cave actually said “What could possibly go wrong in a cave?”, can you get any more cliché than that?
The directing isn’t too bad and there were a lot of great shots that were visually stunning- green screened or not- however, the pacing was a little off at times. Sometimes it felt rushed and other times, it felt too slow. There wasn’t much character development from anybody except for Josh and the acting wasn’t believable in the slightest. The music fitted the movie and the camerawork was done very well but apart from that, Sanctum sinks low to a watery grave at the bottom of the ocean where forgettable and rubbish movies rest.
As a movie, Sanctum just isn’t good at all and isn’t entertaining. The story is predictable and you couldn’t care about the characters at all. The best thing about the whole movie that makes it worth watching is, as I have said, the visuals. From the hole in the Earth to the unexplored caves, Sanctum looks gorgeous but then the story, the characters and the script comes along and ruins everything. The movie would be a lot better if the characters didn’t speak as much and there were more shots of the cave. The only reason why this movie would seem appealing to others is because it’s in 3D and James Cameron was involved in it (which I still can’t believe). Overall, it’s not too disappointing as the visuals were nice to look at and they almost make up for everything else but the whole movie was tedious and disappointing.