The 3-D action-thriller Sanctum follows a team of underwater cave divers on a treacherous expedition to the largest, most beautiful and least accessible cave system on Earth. When a tropical storm forces them deep into the caverns, they must fight raging water, deadly terrain and creeping panic as they search for an unknown escape route to the sea. Master diver Frank McGuire has explored the South Pacific's Esa-ala Caves for months. But when his exit is cut off in a flash flood, Frank's team-including 17-year-old son Josh and financier Carl Hurley are forced to radically alter plans. With dwindling supplies, the crew must navigate an underwater labyrinth to make it out. Soon, they are confronted with the unavoidable question: Can they survive, or will they be trapped forever? Written by
Production designer Nicholas McCallum built the caves in concrete, so that they wouldn't move while the actors were climbing them, and so that they could be reused for underwater scenes. Once scenes with one setting were wrapped, the cave parts would be put in a water tank for the diving scenes. See more »
Glow-sticks do not abruptly extinguish when they are depleted, as shown in the final scene with Josh in the tunnel. The glow gradually decreases over a longer period of time until depleted. See more »
Josh? Wow, your old man let you come up for air?
Oh you're kidding, Dex.
Oh you're gonna be in the shit.
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This movie, although not James Cameron's best, is visually exciting and suspenseful. A gripping expedition becomes a race against time and human nature, when a group of explorers navigating an immense cave in Papua New Guinea during a cyclone find themselves trapped in what threatens to become a watery tomb.
The sometimes melodramatic acting and clichéd dialogue tries too hard to construct the nature of each character before the action scenes start to set in, the uncompromising and experienced leader, the rash and cocky business man, the young kid with father issues. There were plenty of chances to let these traits become apparent naturally throughout the script.
The acting gets more bearable as the number of characters starts to dwindle a little. What saves this movie is the sense of scale in the scenery, the beauty of the natural caves, and the realism with which situations become volatile and unmanageable.
Overall, if you want to see a decent, action driven film about of one of the world's last remaining unexplored landforms, then Sanctum will (probably) not disappoint. It could have done without the 3D, which seemed unnecessary overkill. Not as good as The Abyss, but a similarly excellent visual experience to Avatar, unfortunately it comes with a similar level of acting and, with momentary exceptions, emotional depth.
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