The Cave

The Cave (2005)
Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
Cast: Hauser, Morris Chestnut, Eddie Cibrian, Rick Ravanello, Piper Perabo
Extras: Audio Commentaries, Featurettes, Previews

Exploring a series of caves underneath the Romanian mountains, a group of explorers find themselves trapped after a rockslide seals off the entrance and the team is forced to head deeper into the mysterious surroundings to search for an alternate exit. Facing bizarre creatures that dwell within the caves sees the team being attacked one by one. I'm sure this scenario will seem rather familiar, which is due in part to "The Cave" offering up heavy doses of "Alien" and "The Thing", the creature(s) are quite unoriginal and the whole idea of this film leaves you with a "been there, done that" presentation. I wasn't really expecting a whole lot before viewing "The Cave", I was merely hoping for some shred of originality. The only thing that kept my attention during the film is the awesome visuals seen from within these apparent ancient caves, something that took massive realistic sets being built to produce. So for set design, "The Cave" gets an A+.

Sony Pictures Home Entertainment delivers a great looking transfer for the directorial debut of Bruce Hunt's "The Cave" on DVD. Exhibiting great color saturation and deep rich blacks that expose all of the vast depth and detail found throughout the massive cave sets, truly enhancing the visual experience. There is slight grain noticed during opening scenes, but this is relatively minor. The overall presentation of this DVD is quite pleasant, displaying a clean and crisp image without any noticeable dust or dirt particles.

I was really taken with the Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack for "The Cave". Producing deep bass levels and an overall enveloping soundstage, especially during the various underwater scenes where this mix truly comes to life. The various dripping sounds from the caves stalagmites are picked up quite nicely in the surround channels, providing you with a totally absorbing ambience from deep within the interiors of these cool looking underground caverns.

There are a few items found in the special features section, including your choice of two full feature-length audio commentaries. The first features director Bruce Hunt, producer Andrew Mason and special effects producer James McQuaide. The second commentary offers conversations on the film from writers Michael Steinberg and Tegan West.

A rather cool featurette exploring the intricate details found within the caves it is the subject behind "Into the Cave". The second featurette titled "Designing Evolution: Tatopoulos Studios" features an interview with creature designer Patrick Tatopoulos and his team, where Patrick states and I quote "the most fascinating creatures have humanistic characteristics, take "Alien" and "Predator" for example" well, at least he fesses up to the fact that his creature is less than original, a sentiment I shared after witnessing the first scenes featuring his creation. The featurette does provide good technical information from the inner workings of the special effects studio, one that will interest anyone who enjoys a behind-the-magic perspective.

Lacking overall finesse and something I like to call character development, "The Cave" leaves you with an empty feeling. All we are really presented with is a team of explorers who enter a cave for no meaningful reason, become stranded, then have to face the proverbial "alien" that stands between them and freedom. Half way through the film you really don't care about individual characters or if they will survive the ordeal. "The Cave" presents awesome visuals with an impressive sound mix and nothing more.