Wednesday, 25 January 2012


Superb 3D. Sanctum utilized the same 3D rig that James Cameron devised and used for the live 3D action in Avatar and it shows. The underwater shots often make you feel like you are there with the characters and the 3D effect turns what is essentially an OK adventure film into a white knuckle ride. By the end of viewing this film in 3D, I was emotionally spent. Read a more in-depth 3D review below(V)

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If I imagine what Sanctum is like as a 2D film I would have to say that it is just an average to pretty good thriller about caving and the aftermath of an underground expedition. But what's it like in 3D? In one word....amazing. Without giving too many spoilers away, for the first time in many years, I came out of a viewing experience emotionally drained...that's how intense the 3D is. I won't give any details but almost every moment of peril or emotional intensity was heightened by the 3D effect. Firstly, the feeling of almost being there, within the space that the characters inhabited was real. I'm not exaggerating. The boot camp was set in a cave of about 100 feet length that contained a water entrance to the tunnels that were being explored. You could actually feel that the cave was in front of you and at any moment you could step into the movie with the characters. The detail of the 1080p picture added to this sense of realness. When they first went into the water at shoulder level, OMG, I was there swimming along side them. The underwater shots were just as stunning. You had a real sense of the murky depth of the water and rocks would stick out from the sides dangerously making you feel as though you could hit your head against them. I really did get a bit claustrophobic when the divers swam through a small tunnel. The feeling of mortality was so intense throughout the movie. It was such an intense feeling that I almost didn't enjoy watching parts of the film, because it really made me think a lot about my own mortality in that situation. The feeling of relief at being alive at the end of the film was palpable though. I won't say who survived and who didn't but the ending of the film was an emotionally uplifting feeling of just being thankful for being alive.
Now I will briefly try and explain a few scenes where the 3D intensifies the whole experience. It isn't just about depth, 3D works even in intimate moments of dialogue. The level of detail and roundness to a close up of a person's head and shoulders for example is amazing, you really do feel like that person is right there in front of you. Another example. We have all seen thousands of fights in a film and probably have to imagine how painful they are. In 3D they are painful and you feel every bony crunch of a fist and every smack of the head against a solid rock. When a character falls down onto a rocky floor you feel the pain because in 3D, you can see that that rock sticks out and has a solidity to it. You know and see that it is going to hurt. Another example: there is a scene where a character has a gory injury and without going into too much detail, you can see into the hole in his flesh. You can see the inside of his body and boy is it gross in 3D. Gore doesn't normally bother me in films but I felt sick looking at this. As though I was looking at a real autopsy and seeing into something that I shouldn't see. Now add these above feelings to the whole of the film....a feeling of being there, claustrophobia at the underwater tunnel moments and a real feeling of peril which each passing moment and the whole movie experience is incredibly intense.
I came away from Sanctum 3D, thankful that it had finished and that I was safe and alive. This is what Home Theatre is all about.... that feeling of safe escapism. I'd imagine that the film in 2D is the type of run-of-the-mill, edge-of-your-seat actioner, that you've seen hundreds of times before. In 3D, it's a whole new level of viewing intensity.