Saturday, February 5, 2011


You want to know something about me and caves? I don't particularly like them. I don't particularly like them because they're dark, and I usually don't like the dark. And they can get claustrophobic sometimes, and I don't like having to navigate through tight spaces. And I run the risk of being in one when it gets flooded. I've only been in a cave once, but never the kind that requires an expedition to map. Usually, it's the touristy cave I'll go in, because I know that I'll be all right since the professionals are letting us. I take that as a good sign, and I don't like it when confronted with survival in a place where there's no food, entirely too much water, and entirely too much shelter.

So let that stand as a point of reference when I tell you that none of these are the reasons why I hate today's movie.


An expedition into the Ela Asa cave in Papua, New Guinea goes terribly wrong when a storm rages through the area. While attempting to escape, five people are trapped inside the cave, with the water level rising and the oxygen running out. Thus, the only option they have is to go deeper into unexplored cave space to try to find a way out.

And it all goes crazy from there. And in that, I mean in the kind of crazy that is bad.

I really, really, really hated a lot of the characters in this movie. There were only two of the five main characters that I felt something towards that could vaguely be called an emotional attachment. The rest are an idiot, a stubborn git, and an asshole. And unfortunately, I had to stick with the five all either bland and uninteresting or out-right unlikeable characters throughout the entire running time. It wouldn't be so bad if we actually had good development, but we don't, so we end up disliking the characters. The acting is also a very middling affair, with absolutely none of the actors having any ability to put across any emotion apart from their default acting faces.

It doesn't help that quite a bit of the remainder of the movie is a bit messy. The first act of the film is way too long, which I wouldn't mind so much if it didn't do such a terrible job of establishing its main characters and presenting the dangers of the place they're in. There's also a mildly poor sense of continuity in the film, as the journey through the cave sometimes feels a little contrived in where the protagonists go and some events aren't adequately explained. And then there's the stuff that just shouldn't happen (why the hell does one guy end up with the bends when he's clearly shown being the last of the people to surface from one particular dive?). The fact that I don't sympathize with any of the characters (plus a maddeningly illogical moment of characterization that occurs halfway through the movie) definitely doesn't help the rather messy plotting, either.

What bugs me most, however, is how middling the 3D is. This is a movie that didn't need to be in 3D, what with most of it working in rather closed spaces. The only thing the 3D did for me was to make some of the shots of the larger areas of the cave look more artificial, and to make the rare CG effect they used stand out like a sore thumb. The 3D adds almost nothing to this movie, and even detracts from the experience.

Hence, it makes me baffled why James Cameron would ever want to assosciate himself with such a movie as this. If Cameron had a little more involvement in this movie, Sanctum could actually have had okay characters and a good sense of plot flow. I can't believe that Cameron produced this movie: Sanctum is probably the worst movie Cameron has ever gotten involved with.

And if you hated Avatar, I'll guarantee that Sanctum is far worse.


Skip it.

This is Herr Wozzeck Reviews. I'll see you guys next time.

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