Monday, 7 February 2011



The dreaded 3D strikes again. But at least this one has actually been made in 3D with state of the art camera equipment, rather than being shot flat and then had a fake stereo effect daubed over it in the computer afterwards. Sadly the whizz-bang gosh-wow of modern technology wasn't applied to the writing of the piece, which was still bashed out in Microsoft Word or something, using an old-fashioned qwerty keyboard and printed on sheets of A4, which they've been using since before the Berlin Wall came down. And since the script is pretty much key to every movie ever made, its weaknesses still carry through regardless of the fantastic cameras.

Sanctum (which means nothing as a title) is basically The Descent with blokes and without the monsters, following an exploratory expedition into a vast cave system under the South Pacific led by Richard Roxburgh. When the cyclone hits and the cave starts flooding, the motley band of divers, cavers and Roxburgh's own rebellious son can only go forward through the previously unexplored sections - even as they get lost, bicker, blame one another for the deaths so far, lose their supplies and breathing apparatus, and the batteries on their lights start going out...

There's a lot of alpha-male snarling, sniping and swearing, a lot of father-son bonding and a lot of terrible "you remind me of me" dialogue that you're obliged by law to snigger at in disbelief, and the female characters are barely allowed to register. I don't suppose the 3D is absolutely necessary, but they've used it and it's fine; it works and it's not a fraction as distracting as the retrofitted blur that I refuse to acknowledge or pay for - the sole reason I didn't see The Green Hornet and I won't see the new Conan film (unless there's a 2D print available). If you can get past the clunky dialogue, especially towards the start, it does pick up in the second half when there are fewer underdeveloped characters to keep track of. Not a success, but not a total failure either. And it deserves a nod for using its 3D reasonably well.


It's not out on DVD yet, but when it is (in 2D):

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