Spelunking in 3-D with unintentionally hilarious consequences.
Rated R for language, some violence and disturbing images.
** out of 5
Article first published as Movie Review: Sanctum on Blogcritics.
I am by no means an outdoorsy person. I hate camping, despise the woods and loathe getting too dirty. Yes, I just may be one of the prissiest men when it comes to that kind of stuff and at least I can own up to it, but watching movies such as “Sanctum” is a fair reminder of totally different reasons why I avoid the outdoors all together. It’s also reminds me why some movies are made to laugh with while others you can’t help but laugh at.
Universal Pictures is doing a huge marketing campaign using the moniker of James Cameron’s name above all things “Sanctum”-related. From the trailer to posters to online ads to TV commercials, it’s all about everyone being fully aware that the creator of “Avatar” has crafted a new 3-D event. Just because someone let an inept band of filmmakers use his nifty PACE Fusion 3-D cameras to film this little spelunking gone awry action-adventure doesn’t mean he helped with the actual making of the film.
If you think you’ve seen some silly action-adventure flicks before, the final third of this film gives them a sure run for the money. Why anyone would take their girlfriend with absolutely no diving experience is beyond me. And just wait till you experience the sheer awe of Carl’s surprise attack scream as he lunges out of a cave to fend off Frank who of course is the only person that can get any of them out alive. When it comes down to following the money (Carl) or the experience (Frank), you know the cast is bound to split up and we all know what that means. If there were ever more of an excuse for the crawlers of “The Descent” to rear their heads, it would be these characters. As many people have already pointed out, while this may be “inspired by true events,” Aron Ralston should be hanging his head in shame.
While “Avatar’s” use of 3-D was to envelop the audience into a whole new world, director Alister Grierson and writer John Garvin (both making their Hollywood debuts) can’t even suck you into one that already exists. Or at least the parts of it that do as there are several obviously CGI-crafted sections of this underground water system. If “Sanctum” is all an excuse for Cameron to ready us for what’s to come with his “Avatar” sequel that’s rumored to take place entirely under water then I suppose it’s a good starter. Here’s just hoping that Cameron uses his own production team to craft his world as what we get here looks like something out of a SyFy movie (although I have to admit that I’m fully looking forward to catching “Sharktopus” on Blu-ray in March).
Photos courtesy Universal Pictures