Movie Mom

Movie Mom


posted by Nell Minow
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rated R for language, some violence and disturbing images
Profanity:Constant very strong language
Nudity/Sex:Brief non-sexual nudity (male rear)
Alcohol/Drugs:Drinking, drug reference
Violence/Scariness:Characters in peril with many injured and killed, disturbing graphic violence, mercy killing
Diversity Issues:None
Movie Release Date:February 4, 2011
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated R for language, some violence and disturbing images
Profanity: Constant very strong language
Nudity/Sex: Brief non-sexual nudity (male rear)
Alcohol/Drugs: Drinking, drug reference
Violence/Scariness: Characters in peril with many injured and killed, disturbing graphic violence, mercy killing
Diversity Issues: None
Movie Release Date: February 4, 2011

The stunningly beautiful cave scenes are breathtakingly realistic in this James Cameron-produced 3D “inspired by a true story” saga of a cave-diving expedition gone wrong.

The plot and characters, not so much.

It’s the basic “and then there were none” plotline. Foolish humans take big risks, get into trouble, and have to find their way out — literally. At first the group is hard to tell apart, but soon those who are least differentiated either escape or get killed and we are left with the core group. And it isn’t enough that they have to escape from a whole series of life-threatening perils (too wet, too high, too cold, too deep, too far); the experience also has to serve as family and couples therapy as a reluctant young cave-diver has to confront his tough old boot of a father (the expedition leader) and the arrogant, impulsive adrenaline junkie of a funder has to deal with his date on her first-ever cave experience.


Cameron’s use of 3D is splendid on this real-world Pandora. The film conveys the cathedral-like spaciousness, the claustrophobic passageways, and the vertiginous drops of the cave very well. But the structure of the film is so predictable and the characters so thin and unengaging that it feels more like watching people at a theme park than anything with any sense of peril or involvement. The best thing about the dialogue is that the actors’ Australian accents sometimes make it unintelligible. And a painful series of complicated moral choices are deployed for sensation, rather than depth — just like the hubristic expedition itself.

  • Shary

    Hi Nell. I sometimes go to movies alone but often take my son, who has a seizure disorder. Therefore I was annoyed that this movie is playing only in 3D. Although the quality is probably better than it was years ago, I’m pretty squeamish about the effect 3D might have on him. I’m glad you only gave it a so-so rating since we won’t be going to see it. Obviously, I’m hoping this latest trend won’t become the norm.

  • Nell Minow

    Thanks, Shary. Studios and theater owners like 3D because it raises the ticket price and limits piracy. But a lot of audiences find that it muddies the images. There will always be plenty of other options, but it seems that 3D is on the rise, at least for now.

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