A Diver’s reflection on Sanctum

I saw the James Cameron Production Sanctum last night and as the movie started to roll I was excited and apprehensive at the same time. I really wanted to see the 3D technology James Cameron used for Avatar on a non-animated film and at the same time I really didn’t want to see a bunch of scuba divers die, well, because I don’t want to think of that when I dive.

The movie itself was pretty typical of the “we’re trapped in by water / got stuck in a bad situation” movie: just about everyone dies. It’s a sad, depressing movie with well blended 3D / special effects and some very cool underwater scenes.

You can tell from the movie that everyone one of the “main” actors did learn to dive for the movie:

  1. They all knew the number one rule of scuba diving: never hold your breathe. 
  2. They were using correct hand signals during the dives. 
  3. They knew how to use a reel and to keep it taught – which requires lots of practice. 
  4. They were using a frog kick through many of the caves which is a necessity for small spaces where you can kick up a lot of silt.

The one underwater situation that bothered me was buddy breathing with a re-breather and full face mask. Taking the mask completely off, giving it to the other diver, clearing a full face mask and then repeating was far more dangerous than just letting the diver drown in the first place. I also noticed a little bit of bicycle kicking from a few of the actors but they’ll eventually get better at it.

The underwater scenes were so cool in Sanctum that I now want to explore diving in caves, diving with re-breathers and limiting my cave diving to areas already explored and setup for safe cave diving.