It's easy to sit back and enjoy the adventure films of the 1950s, '60s and '70s with a detached regard today, but the question is: were they as corny then as they're often considered now? There's something hokey yet irresistible about 'Fantastic Voyage' and 'The Poseidon Adventure' and 'Journey to the Center of the Earth' as viewed through a CGI-jaded eye. Surely, someone must not have been so tickled by the transparent artifice of it all at the time. (Let's be fair, though: the bar for on-screen spectacle was on a whole different level back then.)
To be perfectly clear, 'Sanctum' is itself corny, and tremendously so. 2–3 servings of vegetables a day corny. Chief export of Iowa corny. And while it approaches its life-or-death dilemmas with an entirely straight face, the sense of peril is undone at nearly every turn by paint-by-numbers characterizations and cringe-worthy lines of dialogue. It's little wonder, then, why James Cameron ('Avatar') opted to tag along as an executive producer -- it's a project that encapsulates all of his worst tendencies and hopes to excuse them by way of some marginally effective 3D technology.