If you’ve caught yourself thinking that Werner Herzog’s 3D doc Caves of Forgotten Dreams might be a lot better paired with another 3D film about caves, you’re in luck. James Cameron has acted as exec producer on a film called Sanctum, in which a group of explorers and daredevils ventures into the deepest cave on Earth. Where, of course, the unexpected happens, forcing the explorers to rely on their wits and willpower to escape. Watch the trailer after the break.

It isn’t all that often I watch a trailer and find myself wishing that James Cameron had directed the film, but here that’s definitely the case. There’s a lot of potential in Sanctum, but the characters and script as we see them advertised don’t look particularly compelling. And the camerawork, while generally effective (and perhaps great-looking if seen projected) serves to make me think of how visually impressive this film might be had Cameron devoted two years to it. That’s probably unfair to the movie, but that’s what happens when his name is used as an advertising hook.

Here’s the official synopsis via Apple, where you can also see the trailer in HD.

The 3-D action-thriller Sanctum, from executive producer James Cameron, follows a team of underwater cave divers on a treacherous expedition to the largest, most beautiful and least accessible cave system on Earth. When a tropical storm forces them deep into the caverns, they must fight raging water, deadly terrain and creeping panic as they search for an unknown escape route to the sea. Master diver Frank McGuire (Richard Roxburgh) has explored the South Pacific’s Esa-ala Caves for months. But when his exit is cut off in a flash flood, Frank’s team–including 17-year-old son Josh (Rhys Wakefield) and financier Carl Hurley (Ioan Gruffudd)–are forced to radically alter plans. With dwindling supplies, the crew must navigate an underwater labyrinth to make it out. Soon, they are confronted with the unavoidable question: Can they survive, or will they be trapped forever?

Sanctum is directed by Alister Grierson (who made the Australian film Kokoda) from a script by John Garvin and Andrew Wight. It stars Richard Roxburgh, Rhys Wakefield, Ioan Gruffudd, Alice Parkinson and Dan Wyllie and will open in 3D on February 4, 2011.

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