If I were to name three things that bore me; cave exploration, C-List Australian actors and James Cameron might actually make the list. Unfortunately for me, Sacntum has all three.
Based on a true story, Sanctum follows a group of adventerous researchers who are exploring a gigantic cave and have to spelunk for their lives after a rainstorm threatens to flood their only entrance and exit.
This isn’t James Cameron’s follow up to Avatar, because that would be a sad, sad reality for him. He’s got Executive Producer credits on this film, which means little other than that he served as a consultant. Heck, I think my dog has Executive Producer credits on some movies from the early 2000’s.
Sanctum features a cast of mostly unknown actors who deliver cheesy and flat performances. While dealing with the natural disaster they’re facing, they resort to bad dialogue, uninspired drama and awkward Australian phraseology. I would have been happier if somebody said “a dingo stole my baby,” but again, I’m out of luck.
Maybe Indiana Jones could still get away with saying “What could possibly go wrong with diving in caves?” This cast makes the foreshadowing obvious and annoying.
The movie is also shot from a confusing perspective. You never really can grasp whether the cave they are in is 10 feet from the surface or six miles under. Most of the scenes take place in a cramped cave space that doesn’t give you the massive feeling that a cave should give you.
Like Cameron’s last work, the scenery is beautiful in Sanctum. The tropical forests, underground worlds and underwater oceans were a character to themselves. Sadly again, they were the only interesting character. You can dress a movie up and even put it in shiny 3D, but if the story is lacking, there won’t be much to enjoy.
This movie could have been much more with better execution. Being trapped in a cave, miles under the earth’s surface and having to rely on your strengths to get you out is a scary and intriguing premise. I think if Cameron really had his hands on this movie, he would have been able to root out Sanctum’s glaring weaknesses. Putting his name on it only serves to weaken his overextended and no longer welcome pitch for 3D.