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Sanctum: Predictable Underwater Thriller in 3D

  • Allison CratchleyChristopher Baker...
  • Action & AdventureDrama...
  • Alister Grierson
reviewed by
Omar Atef
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Sanctum: Predictable Underwater Thriller in 3D

The 3D
action-thriller Sanctum by executive
producer James Cameron follows a team of underwater cave divers on a
treacherous exhibition to
the largest, most beautiful and least accessible cave system on Earth. When a
tropical storm hits the area, the divers have to dive deeper and
fight the raging waters to find an unknown escape route back to the sea. Drama
unfolds between the characters, relationships are strained, and rash decisions are
taken to save lives, forcing others to pay the consequences.

Sanctum’s plot really shows how Mother Nature sometimes can be our best friend
or our worst enemy. This theme has been explored before in many other films
with different natural disasters: Perfect
Storm, Earthquake, Deep Impact
, etc. So the viewer may have a foreboding
sense of the film’s outcome from its opening credits. The main working factor
is how tense the life-defying situations are and how they make the plot more
exciting. The impeccable use of 3D in Sanctum
makes the film more thrilling to watch.

For such a big motion
picture, the cast doesn’t include big industry names. The only logical
explanation for this move is that it allowed the filmmakers to direct their
budget towards a quality production of the film instead of on big actors’ fees.
Richard Roxburgh as Frank (Mission
Impossible 2
), gives a solid and believable performance as the leader of
the exhibition. Ioan Gruffudd (The
Fantastic Four)
gives a solid turn as Carl, the arrogant millionaire
funding the whole operation who has a turbulent relationship with his son Josh
(Rhys Wakefield). Much of the film focuses on the father-son relationship,
where Josh is appalled by Carl’s unethical decisions and ultimately has to walk
in his father’s shoes to understand what happens when survival instincts set

Although Sanctum was shot in 3D, it doesn’t live
up to the standards of Cameron’s hit Avatar,
nor does it compare to Cameron’s earlier classic hit The Abyss; though the storylines are uncomfortably similar. While the
underwater scenes in 3D are beyond spectacular; the 3D effects are the only real
winning ticket here. Other than that, viewers are left with a predictable plot, a dull
script and flat performances.

Despite the tense
scenes and claustrophobic settings, it’s hard to emphasize or even connect with
the characters’ anguish; instead, you find yourself predicting who will die
next. If you’re an underwater fan and enjoy 3D, be sure to see Sanctum in
cinemas now; it won’t translate well onto DVD.

Like This? Try

The Abyss, Poseidon, Twister    

360 Tip

The film was inspired by director Alister Grierson’s near-death experience during a diving expedition.

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