By: Henry J. Fromage (Five Beers) –
There’s a reason why non-filmmakers shouldn’t make films.Now, before you string me up the pretension tree hear me out.It takes somebody with vision coupled with technique to make a good film.If you only have one part of that equation, you’re asking for trouble.
The directors of Sanctum, like the directors of recent misfire Skyline, are special effects people at heart, having helped James Cameron develop the 3D cameras he later used in Avatar.
This is good in that the visuals are excellent.The 3D is about as satisfying as anything since Avatar.This isn’t entirely a complement, as it still falls short of convincing me that 3D needs to exist.Still, I’ve got to admit, the opening visuals of a helicopter ride through New Guinean jungle to the cave where the rest of the movie takes place is pretty sweet.
Although, once you get in the cave, the 3D is a mite bit unnecessary
The reason why the directors should stick with special effects lies in literally every other aspect of the film.From the very first line, the dialogue is just terrible.If this wasn’t written by the guy who did SyFy’s Megashark vs. Giant Octopus, he’s obviously a direct influence.
The plot is also highly predictable.I can verify this, because I predicted every single death in order, 15 minutes into the movie.You can do this, too.
The main character of the film is Josh, the young, Bieberesque son of the world-famous cavediver who fronts the expedition, Frank.Josh’s part was probably written as a daughter originally, judging by all the menstruation and feminine flair that permeates his performance.
He’s got obvious issues with his dad, which get exacerbated when they’re trapped in the mother of all caves.As it begins to fill with water, and people start to die, everyone gangs up on Frank, even though he’s always right.Basically, when he tells you not to do something, don’t do it.
Outside of Frank, it’s hard to empathize with any of the characters.This is what kills the movie in the end.A chunky brew of bad acting and terrible writing makes you root for their deaths, which the is opposite of the empathy you need to make movies like this work.
This is forgivable in the case of the majority of the no-name cast, but not at all so for Ioan Gruffud.He’s most recognizable as Mr. Fantastic in The Fantastic Four, but he had gotten a lot of accolades for his previous acting in A & E’s epic Horatio Hornblower series and 2006’s Amazing Grace.
He’s supposed to be some sort of millionaire thrill-seeker/witty comic relief, but all he really accomplishes is being unbearably grating.He’s terrible in a way that he must have actively strived for.
It seems like we might be piling on this one too much, but a final beer must go to the “based on a true story” label.While one of the writers did get trapped in a cave while diving, the rest of the script depicted what actually happened like The Patriot depicts the Revolutionary War.
If you watch it, make sure it’s in the theaters.Once this hits DVD, there is no godly reason.
Bonus Drinking Game
Take a drink: every time someone does something stupid
Take a drink: whenever Josh bitches about something
Drink a shot: every time Ion Gruffud fails