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Home Theater Movie Renter's Guide - June, 2011

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"Sanctum" (Blu-ray) - Reviewed by Stephen Hornbrook

movie-june-2011-sanctum

Synopsis

Sanctum is based, very loosely, on the real-life events of writer Andrew Wight. In the movie, a giant underwater cave system in Papua New Guinea is explored by a team of professionals including a master diver Frank, his son Josh and the man funding the project, Carl.  After arriving via helicopter at the cave site, Josh, Carl, and his girlfriend rappel down into the cave to join up with Frank and a couple of his team members. While down at the base camp, a powerful rain storm hits Papua New Guinea and begins to flood the cave system.  The team makes an attempt to get out, but is blocked in by a large boulder that shifts under the power of the rushing water.  Their only hope for escape is to continue down the cave system towards the ocean.

Specifications

  • Universal Studios
  • 2011, Color, Rated R, 1 Hr 47 min
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Codec: AVC
  • 1080p
  • English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio
  • Starring:  Richard Roxburgh, Ioan Gruffudd, Rhys Wakefield
  • Directed by Alister Grierson
Rating
  • Entertainment:
  • Video:
  • Audio:
  • Extras:
  • Violence: Yes
  • Sex: No
  • Language: Bad

Commentary

This movie advertised its producer, James Cameron, more than the movie itself. They tried so hard to fool people into believing this was Cameron’s followup to is box office sensation, Avatar, but alas he merely produced the film.  He obviously didn’t believe too much in the project, because the movie had a cheap feel to it, as evidenced by the poorly rendered CG helicopter in the movie.  It is a decent movie, but I feel it could have really benefited from a larger budget. One thing to note however, if you are deathly afraid of drowning, I would not watch this movie!

Technical

The image quality was very inconsistent going from sharp and detailed, to soft and murky. Some shots looked very good, like the underwater scenes that were lit by glow sticks, but other shots had a flat, washed-out look. Overall, I felt the image lacked the contrast it needed to give the film more depth.  On the audio side, LF effects were very good, from the helicopter to the rushing water.  The surrounds were very active and dialog was always clear.

Extras

Audio Commentary, Sanctum: The Real Story (47 minute documentary), Nullarbor Dreaming (45 minute documentary on an old cave expedition), Deleted Scenes