Friday, February 4, 2011



Sanctum By now, anybody who has even just heard about the movie "127 Hours" probably already gets the message—bring a sharp knife when you go explore in a never never land (or the lack of). Some cave divers indeed bring a sharp knife with them. However, that does not seem enough to save their fate during their adventure in director Alister Grierson's 3-D thriller "Sanctum" (USA/Australia 2010 | 109 min.). Nor will it save the film from sinking into the deep cave.

Frank McGuire (Richard Roxburgh) leads a National Geographic team inside South Pacific's underwater Esa-ala Caves that is regarded as "the mother of all caves." His resentful 17-year-old son Josh (Rhys Wakefield) comes for a visit, joined by an uppity financier Carl Hurley (Ioan Gruffudd) and his equally arrogant girlfriend Victoria (Alice Parkinson). After they reach inside the cave, a heavy storm causes a flash flooding and cuts off the route for getting out of the cave. They must find a new way to escape the sanctum with limited resources, supplies, and few options, if any at all. During the struggle for survival, all hell breaks loose gruesomely, both in natural and in human.

Although we are expecting danger when a parachute is needed for falling into the cave, the film is still a hair-raising experience. It reminds us that we should leave the nature alone sometimes. Occasionally, the film displays great visual of underwater and inside the cave. The film might have been fascinating if it were a documentary about surviving on National Geographic Channel.

Unfortunately, no. The film wants to create some human drama. Actually, lots of them. Although it is produced by the creator of "Avatar," James Cameron"the king of the world," but this film has a different writing team. Yet, this film's cheesy dialogues are just as laughable as in "Avatar," if not worse. As for the 3-D, when it is all dark in a cave, why is it matter if it is 3-D or 2-D? Unless, the film crew turn on the superb lighting.

Rhys Wakefield and Richard Roxburgh SANCTUM

Most of the characters are stubborn and ego driving. Whenever they escape from a terrifying episode in the extreme condition, they shout at each other, quarrel with each other, when they are not trying to kill each other. Here is my advice for them: next time when you dive into that mother of all caves, you should learn from James Franco in "127 Hours,", go by yourself, and do not tell anybody where you are going, but do bring a sharp knife, just in case.

"Sanctum" opens on Friday, February 4, 2011 at Bay Area theaters.

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