What to look out for: The basic elements of a disaster movie are in place
What not to look out for: Marred by the lack of believable characters and ineffective use of 3D
“Sanctum” follows a team of scuba divers who get sealed in by a tropical storm while exploring a New Guinea cavern. Leading the pack is the no-nonsense diving great Frank McGuire (Richard Roxburgh) along with his teenage son Josh (Rhys Wakefield). Then there is the wealthy sponsor of the expedition Carl (Ioan Gruffudd) and his girlfriend Victoria (Alice Parkinson). Frank’s relationship with his son is explored as a parallel plot and develops further as they brave the caves together. But due to lack of depth in the characters, the relationship is hardly believable. Cameron’ s previous endeavors made us laugh and cry with the characters despite being disaster movies. Sadly “Sanctum” doesn’t measure up.
What the film lacks in dialogue and character, it makes up with momentum. It builds up a good tempo and a few thrills as you follow the team’s attempt at survival. Although it would have been far more believable if the race through the caverns were more detailed in reasoning. The 3D element too was wasted. If most of the scenes require actors to be stuck in narrow caverns, there is not much 3D can add.
The story was inspired by a true life incident involving the films writer Andrew Wight. However, the characters and the dialogues were so loosely written that its difficult to feel anything for any of them, even as they die one by one. The performances didn’t add anything either. Although there were some nicely shot sequences of what is said to be an unexplored cave system, it still wasn’t enough.
Verdict: Yes, the executive producer is James Cameron but that doesn’t make this as good as “Titanic” or “Avataar”. Watch if you must.