Saturday, February 26, 2011
What could possibly go wrong diving in caves?
James Cameron and I have an interesting relationship. Cameron the director, has made some of my favorite movies (Terminator 1 and 2, True Lies, Aliens) and created one of my favorite short lived shows ever made (Dark Angel). Cameron the person however pisses me off to no end and I will be quite happy the day he retires. That said I want to still see his movies so it's kind of an odd situation. His latest movie, which he neither wrote nor directed but executive produced the hell out of (and oddly does all the promotion for), is Sanctum, a cave diving adventure shot using the 3D tech that they used for Avatar. It's written by two first timers and based on the "true life story" of co-writer Andrew Wight, who dealt with the same obstacles as this movie did. It's directed by newcomer Alister Grierson and stars only one actor I've heard of (Richard Roxburgh of Moulin Rouge).
So needless to say it has a lot of new blood working on it. But does Cameron's executive producing and help make this a Cameron worthy film? Simply put...no.
One of the biggest faults with this film is it's story. I have no doubt that Wight and John Garvin (the other co-writer) are talented people but this film really does not showcase it. Besides Josh and Frank it lacks any character development besides the usual stereotypes we see in almost every action/horror movie. Even Josh and Frank are barely developed compared to what we are expectant of in a feature film. We need to care about these characters and really we don't. When and if the characters die we could care less because we barely knew their names. Also the dialogue can be really cheesy and heavy handed at times, causing some groan worthy moments and almost enough eye rolling to sprain an eye. It's near painful to listen to.
It's saving grace though is the acting. Honestly that is the only thing that kept me going. While I had only heard of Richard Roxburgh (who plays Frank), I hadn't heard of any of the other actors. That said, they all did a really good job. Granted the script caused them to work in a tight, confined acting space both physically and metaphorically using mostly stereotypes as their entire character development for the film, but each actor, Rhys Wakefield especially, did a great job making me believe they were really the characters they were portraying. Sometimes in a movie that outright fails at everything else, the actors can come off as "So and so playing the character" and not lose themselves in the character like they are supposed to. Even the smallest accomplished that goal and for that I tip my hat to them.
MY VERDICT: AVOID IT