Posted December 28, 2010 by Marcia Degia - Publisher in DVD/Blu-ray


When the world’s, arguably, biggest filmmaker is the only credit
on a film’s poster, along with the title and 3D, it should ring alarm
bells; or at least it should for film journalists/critics.

Really, it is a clever piece of marketing because, apart from James Cameron and Welsh actor Ioan Gruffudd,
most of the cast and crew are pretty much unknown outside of their
native Australia, except for maybe fans of Home and Away. Cameron has a
great reputation when it comes to 3D and underwater footage,
unfortunately this is going to do nothing to enhance that reputation.

The film is the story of a group of fanatical cave divers who want to
explore the biggest cave in Papua New Guinea. The team is funded by an
arrogant American millionaire, played by Gruffudd, who insists on going
along on the trip with his mountaineering girlfriend. The team is led by
the gruff, but highly experienced Frank (Richard Roxburgh), who has issues with his son Josh (Rhys Wakefield),
and most of the other members of the team. When someone on the team
utters the immortal/implausible words “what could possibly go wrong?”,
it is pretty clear that means everything will. As a massive tropical
storm hits the area, the cave system starts to fill with water and the
group have to find a way out. Like Cameron’s Titanic, we pretty much know from the outset what the outcome is going to be, which is hinted at in the opening shot.

Part of the problem with this film, apart from the clichéd dialogue,
characters you don’t really care about or believe in and its total
predictability, is its main selling point is the 3D, and that is not enough to sustain a nearly two-hour-long movie.
I am still not convinced by 3D, and even though this one was shot using
Cameron’s 3D camera rigs, it still didn’t achieve anywhere near the
sense of depth we have been promised. Also, a lot of the film is shot
underwater where perspective is different to on land.

Despite all those negative comments and its implausibility, Sanctum
still proves to be a gripping adventure, with some tense moments and the
occasional bit of spectacular underground scenery, although how much of
it is real and how much is CGI is hard to say.

Bear this in mind, rather than the hype of the marketing it is
reasonably entertaining distraction in which wearing (3D) goggles won’t
seem out of place.

Marcia Degia - Publisher

Marcia Degia has worked in the media industry for more than 10 years. She was previously Acting Managing Editor of Homes and Gardens magazine, Publishing Editor at Macmillan Publishers and Editor of Pride Magazine. Marcia, who has a Masters degree in Screenwriting, has also been involved in many broadcast projects. Among other things, she was the devisor of the documentary series Secret Suburbia for Living TV.