THE SANDS OF OBLIVION gives them the chance to mess up not a good idea but a potentially awesome one that could have been as exciting as THE MUMMY or RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK. Unfortunately, the great idea just fizzles out.
The basis of the story is that when Cecil B. DeMille made the original, silent THE TEN COMMANDMENTS the studio bulldozed the elaborate sets in the California desert instead of recycling the lumber and other building materials. It seems that there had been genuine Egyptian artifacts used in the set and something Very Bad had been unleashed.
In the present day people are digging up the old desert location, and Something Bad is once again free to roam the Earth.
The cast is adequate to the job, and the special effects are really pretty decent. But the script and direction are uneven, and the film never finds a consistent tone. It veers into comedy and seems to disregard the numerous people killed by the newly unleashed monster. Near the end there's a dune buggy race that's professionally filmed but seems to have been cut in from another movie.
The original TEN COMMANDMENTS had a segment set in contemporary times (the 1920's) concerning the building of a cathedral with substandard material and the tragedy of putting cost and convenience in too high a position. A similar theme could have been developed with the lumber, which would be very well preserved in a desert climate.
THE SANDS OF OBLIVION is certainly worth watching, but the main thing I kept thinking was what might have been.