More Than a Normal Adventure
By Todd A. Smith
In the year 2011, I’m almost ashamed to admit that I have not seen a 3D movie since I was a kid growing up in the 1980s. However, when the opportunity came to review James Cameron’s new Sanctum movie, I jumped at the opportunity to see the film.
Additionally, unlike many movie buffs I am not a big fan of action/adventure movies, but the new Sanctum movie is more than an adventure flick that appeals to most guys, it delves into the complex relationships between fathers and their sons, which are not, explored enough in modern films.
The Sanctum movie centers on group of explorers, led by Frank (Richard Roxburgh), who are literally going where no man has gone before. Carl (Ioan Gruffudd) is also a good cave diver, but is more interested in making the cover of National Geographic and marrying his tag-along girlfriend Victoria (Alice Parkinson) than benefitting mankind.
The idea of discovering unknown parts of the world trumps the danger that they face on a daily basis. However, like many sons, Josh (Rhys Wakefield) is forced into following in the footsteps of his highly-respected father, Frank, when he can think of a million other things he wants to do with his time.
Furthermore, Josh’s nonchalant attitude towards exploring and cave diving is blamed for a serious mishap that endangers one diver in particular. That danger pales in comparison to the eminent danger that comes when a storm threatens to flood the cave and become the permanent burial ground for the remaining explorers.
After an argument with his father, Josh makes the statement that nobody cares about these caves but Frank and his explorer buddies. But what audiences will care about is the bonding that occurs when Frank and Josh are trapped in the cave and are forced to communicate with each other or face certain death.
In one scene, Frank is forced to let an associate die when that person’s breathing tube tears or risk death also. After the flood traps the explorers in the cave, Frank also makes the difficult decision to drown another associate after he literally breaks every bone in his body.
It becomes apparent that Frank has been hardened by his dangerous job, but initially to Josh he is a killer who has put other people’s lives in danger just for his own career advancement and fame.
However, when Josh is assisting George (Dan Wyllie) out of the cave he learns of his father’s true heroic nature, discovering that all would be dead without Frank’s expertise.
The Sanctum movie fails because many will not care or understand the art of exploration, but it succeeds in depicting the sometimes fragile relationship between fathers and sons.
Audiences that watch the Sanctum movie will cheer for Josh, root against Carl and eventually better understand Frank.
Furthermore, audiences will also better understand the father-son dynamic by the end of this picture. Like many fathers, Frank is very hard on his son, but he would gladly give his life if it benefits the life of his child.