C'mon James I expect more.... I was going to see this tomorrow too. Oh well, thanks Rachel.
It's kind of funny. Last year, James Cameron was on his soapbox (3D-enhanced of course), pooh-poohing "Piranha 3D" and the like, claiming that such movies are bad for the advancement of the 3D format. Then, he goes and puts his name on something as craptacular as "Sanctum." Pot, meet kettle.
It's highly possible that "Sanctum" could have helped further the 3D industry, if it were any good. I love a brain-dead action adventure as much as the next person. However, "Sanctum" is riddled with cliches, bad acting, and bad 3D. Yes, even the 3D is bad. This wouldn't be all that surprising if it didn't have the Cameron seal of approval.
Cameron serves as a producer, which normally means very little. However, he has been out talking up the movie and even showed up to the premiere. I'm guessing that he actually liked it. He would be one of the few.
The film is inspired by the true adventures of co-writer Andrew Wight, who almost died in a cave-diving expedition during a storm. There's no way that Wright's experience could have been as boring as this movie. Also, I have to wonder how many horrible one-liners he rambled off during his own near-death experience. ("What could possibly go wrong?")
Poorly developed plot aside, there is 3D, which should have been the saving grace of this movie. "Sanctum" is filled with lush scenery and creepy caves. It looks a lot like a postcard, and by that, I mean that it's very one-dimensional. You would think the movie was shot against a green screen, but the 3D probably would have been better. The scenery is pretty flat, sending the levels of boring off the boring-meter.
The 3D does have its moments. The cast pops off the screen (in image anyway), but even that is a mixed bag. In particular, when someone has their back to the screen (which happens a lot in the first half), they pop, but also appear slightly distorted. I understand the filmmakers wanting to make us feel like we are in the conversation, hanging over someone's shoulder. Instead, I felt like I was there, but with a slight buzz on.
Not that there's anything wrong with that, but there is plenty wrong with this film's 3D imagery. That said, there are some nuggets as well, such as 3D bubbles, cables, raindrops, and the occasional hanging rock. However, it's hardly worth paying the 3D premium.
If you must see "Sanctum," whether because of the scenery, Cameron's name or your high threshold for pain, it’s best to go in with low expectations -- like cave-diving low. The good news? It may force Cameron to shut his cavehole for a bit about which movies "cheapen" the 3D format.