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57 of 68 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Superior Story Telling, Great Originality, And Fun Entertainment: Mixing Science Fiction, Humor, Drama, Adventure And "Horror"
When I spend six hours surfing the net to find information about, or related to the content of, a film, I would have to say that that film "engaged" me--and for me that is what the best movies do, regardless of their status as a film. "Sands of Oblivion" has done that for me--and more than once! I was just re-watching the film for specifics to write this review, and the...
Published on October 11, 2008 by Dr. Karl O. Edwards

versus
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars So bad it's good?
Morena Baccarin and Adam Baldwin, yay! Um... wait.... that CGI is really terrible. Whoa, Egyptian curse! But the CGI is just TERRIBLE. And the sets are awful. And it's all low-budget, but well-lit. That's a bad, bad combo. Deliberately bad? I mean, honestly, this is soooo awful, why on earth would anyone make it this way unless it was on *purpose*?

This movie...
Published on June 14, 2010 by A. Trotter


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57 of 68 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Superior Story Telling, Great Originality, And Fun Entertainment: Mixing Science Fiction, Humor, Drama, Adventure And "Horror", October 11, 2008
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This review is from: Sands of Oblivion (DVD)
When I spend six hours surfing the net to find information about, or related to the content of, a film, I would have to say that that film "engaged" me--and for me that is what the best movies do, regardless of their status as a film. "Sands of Oblivion" has done that for me--and more than once! I was just re-watching the film for specifics to write this review, and the next thing I knew I had over nine windows open on my computer about topics related to "Sands of Oblivion." And the more I "research," the more I come to really enjoy and appreciate this wonderful film.

Jeff Coatney and Kevin VanHook have written an intriguing, fresh, and "factually" based story. I certainly do not know how they came to incorporate what they did, but in telling their story they actually do a very good job of "getting it right." For example, the basic premises that "The Ten Commandments," a 1923 epic silent film directed by Cecil B. DeMille, was filmed along the California coast, that the vast set he created was "buried," and that an archaeologist would be "looking" to uncover it are all absolutely true. Demille's "The Ten Commandments" was filmed at Nipomo Dunes (now a National Natural Landmark), San Luis Obispo County, California (near Pismo Beach), which is now an archaeological site (officially called Ten Commandments Archeological Site). The film location was originally chosen because its immense sand dunes provided a superficial resemblance to the Egyptian desert. After the filming was complete, the massive sets--which included four 35-foot tall Pharaoh statues, 21 sphinxes, and gates reaching a height of 110 feet, which were built by a small army of 1,600 workers--were in fact dynamited and buried in the sand. Unlike the film, however, much of what is left of the old sets are very visible because the winds constantly shift the sands that covered the ruins, and because of ecological degradation--alleged to in "Sands of Oblivion."

The character of Im-La-Ra, the Left Hand of Set, appears from my research to be completely fictional. Set (also spelled/known as Seth, Sutekh or Seteh), unlike his portrayal on episodes of "Stargate SG-1," (where Danial called him a minor god of "sex, drugs, and rock'n'roll), was considered to be immensely powerful, and was regarded as the chief god by many early Egyptians; moreover, Set carried the epithet, "His Majesty," shared only with Ra. But more importantly for "Sands of Oblivion," Set was originally the god of the desert, storms, and chaos; while in more recent eras he was, along with Typhon, seen as an evil force, storm deity and son of the Earth that attacked the main gods (a possible source for his downgrading on "Stargate SG-1"). Regardless, it is clear that the "avenging one," Im-La-Ra, is a manifestation (i.e., the "left hand") of Set, capable of using the powers of the desert and storms. [I should point out that if you go to IMBd, this character is casted as Anubis Creature. While I have yet to clearly hear the name Anubis used in the film, it would not be impossible to understand, since Anubis was a jackal-headed god associated with mummification and the afterlife in Egyptian mythology. To a degree, the "god" in "Sands of Oblivion" does look more like Anubis than Set, as well.]

Like several other reviewers, I thought that the cast was wonderful. Dan Castellaneta (famous as the voice of Homer Simpson) was absolutely perfect as the lovable, but tyrannical Cecil B. DeMille, while Richard Kind (of "Mad About You" fame) gave a great cameo as Ira, DeMille's accountant. The real treat, of course, was the chance to see 83 year old George Kennedy again, playing the "pivotal" role of the old John Tevis. The character, John Tevis, was a boy on the set of "The Ten Commandment," and as such believes he has a better idea of where the "hidden" set is located; plus he can use a metal detector to search for a box that he buried on the set as a boy. It is also John's father, Cully Tevis (uncredited; Anthony Reynolds ?), who, we find out through the course of the film, was responsible for integrating real Egyptian artifacts and "magic" into the production of the set, and helping to lock inside the set the "god-creature" Im-La-Ra. And, it is John Tevis' son, Mark (played by Victor Webster) who "re-imprisons" Im-La-Ra (by turning him to glass). Mark, an Iraqi war veteran, also becomes part of a poorly played out "love triangle" with Alice Carter (played by Morena Baccarin, of "Fire Fly" and "Stargate SG-1") and her estranged, unfaithful husband Jesse Carter (played by fellow "Fire Fly" actor Adam Baldwin).

The plot of "Sands of Oblivion," then, is that Cecil B. DeMille has "destroyed" the set in a ploy to hide the fact that he was actually entrapping Im-La-Ra in one of the stages using an ancient curse. This fact is analogously presented in the scene where young John Tevis is burying a "treasure" box/time box. The key here is that the box contains the same Amulet of Ra used by the ancient Egyptians to originally entrap Im-La-Ra. Apparently during an illegal archaeological dig DeMille and John Tevis' grandfather opened the "tomb" that had entrapped Im-La-Ra. One of the "artifacts" they discovered and brought back was the Amulet of Ra, which, of course, they did not know was for. While burying his box, John uncovers a "prop," the Amulet of Ra (dropped by a set guard just before he was killed), which he adds to the box. Thus, as in the opening sequence of "Sands of Oblivion" when the narrator states that the amulet had to be buried to keep Im-La-Ra there, by burying the Amulet of Ra in his box John unknowingly (to himself or anyone else) repeated the "magic." The gist of this action is that this was really what kept Im-La-Ra prisoner after the set was "destroyed." Years later, when older John Tevis finds the box he had buried and opens it, the over-arching protection against Im-La-Ra is lifted, and Im-La-Ra tears off John's arm (which kills him). From this point, the movie becomes one of trying to undo that which has been done. Poetically, it is Mark Tevis that "inadvertently" buries the Amulet of Ra when he fires the LAW rocket to explode the WP grenades; ironically, in the end, they all still think that it will be the Free Masons building a new tomb that will hold Im-La-Ra "prisoner."

Another aspect I loved about "Sands of Oblivion" was the reference to and (inaccurately portrayed, but accurately described) use of "willy-petters" or white phosphorous (WP) hand grenades (which I have only seen referenced in one other movie, "We Were Soldiers Once" (which more graphically displays their destructiveness)). If you did not catch the point through the indirect dialogue, white phosphorous burns at an incredible intensity, and a box of them set off at the same time just might turn sand into glass just like a lightning strike can do. The use of WP to stop the "creature" was very inventive--even if the shot of the LAW missile showed it missing the box of WP by an easy 10 feet!

If this review was not helpful to you, I would appreciate learning the reason(s) so I can improve my reviews. My goal is to provide help to potential buyers, not get into any arguments. So, if you only disagree with my opinion, could you please say so in the comments and not indicate that the review was not helpful. Thanks.
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26 of 31 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars better than the usual Sci-fi Channel movie, January 13, 2008
By 
Harold Harefoot (Tucson, AZ United States) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Sands of Oblivion (DVD)
While this movie suffers from the usual low budget for visual effects that plagues most of the movies offered by the Sci-fi channel, the story is actually fairly well-written and interesting, although it has a lot in common with the "Mummy" movies. The big bonus of this film is that we get to see Adam Baldwin amd Morena Baccarin playing husband and wife - a really strange pairing, for fans of Firefly, but one that works surprisingly well. Actually, it's worth buying the movie just to see them working together again - and getting along with each other about as "well" as they did on Firefly. This movie probably isn't for everybody, but if you love Jayne and Inara, it's a must have.
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21 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sands of Oblivion...Sci Fi Delight, February 28, 2008
This review is from: Sands of Oblivion (DVD)
The DVD cover proclaims...."Some Secrets Should Never Be Unearthed".

And in a sand covered nutshell, that would describe "Sands of Oblivion". The actual plot is a little more complex, with the 1923 set for the Cecil B DeMille film being excavated before it washes away. George Kennedy stars as John Tevis, a dying grandfather to Jesse Carter, a young man who buried his treasure in the desert. Returning 80 years later to find his box, he and his grandson unleash the spirit of Ra and death! Add into the mix, an almost ex husband and wife, and an ex Iraq battlemate of Jesse, Buford, and you have a film that hits on every cylinder almost.

Cecil B DeMille, the talented eccentric director is central to the set up. What seems to be just a movie set turns out to be filled with authentic Egyptian artifacts and the throne room, a prison for the evil spirit that stalks the team of student archaeologists. The `beast' travels from hotel room to tomb, to storage area and threatens death. Dan Castellaneta portrays DeMille effectively, and gives the film a sense of mystery AND nostalgia.

In terms of characters, Buford is a joy and is perfect for the film. His storehouse of weaponry (some stored underneath teddy bears), and redneckish behaviour is delightful. Too bad he didn't have more lines, or at least flip flops to wear while he dug through his garage.

One of the best things about the film is that the factual evidence supports the tombs' existence. Today, the sand dunes where the film was made in 1923 is littered with debris from the dynamited set. Unfortunately, the spirit of death does not walk here. Just tourists!

As a film-maker and writer, Kevin Vanhook produces a thrilling film that runs just 30 seconds too long! Sure, the ex-soldier may be testosterone filled, but cut the last scene!

Could there be a sequel? Let's hope not. Leave a good film alone.

Tim Lasiuta

[...]
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars So bad it's good?, June 14, 2010
By 
This review is from: Sands of Oblivion (DVD)
Morena Baccarin and Adam Baldwin, yay! Um... wait.... that CGI is really terrible. Whoa, Egyptian curse! But the CGI is just TERRIBLE. And the sets are awful. And it's all low-budget, but well-lit. That's a bad, bad combo. Deliberately bad? I mean, honestly, this is soooo awful, why on earth would anyone make it this way unless it was on *purpose*?

This movie is frankly terrible beyond words. On the other hand, it's chock full of cliches and Hollywood mythology and looks like it was excellent fun to make. This might be the sort of bad little gem that actors put on at parties to laugh over; it looks like something deliberately done for schlock effect.

I kind of like it. I know! It sucks. But... I still sort of like it anyways.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Almost got there in the first half, but fails in the second., June 1, 2009
This review is from: Sands of Oblivion (DVD)
Sands of Oblivion (David Flores, 2007)

Oh, wow. There's a scene in Sands of Oblivion that actually made me gasp. There's a decapitation scene, with the usual tremendously bad special effects you expect in any Sci-FI Channel Original Movie (and, for that matter, any movie written by Kevin Van Hook). Business as usual. Until the camera focuses for a few seconds on the decapitated head. I actually said out loud (in an empty house), "my god, am I really seeing that?" SO I hit rewind and watched it again, and I really was seeing it. The head had Xs for eyes, just like in Looney Tunes. I couldn't help it--I burst out laughing. It does me good to know that sometimes, the people making these movies take them about as seriously as the people who will ultimately end up watching them.

Plot: Cecil B. DeMille's filming of The Ten Commandments is plagued by problems caused by bootleg Egyptian artifacts, one of which houses a nasty spirit. After the filming is over, the crew bury the set in the desert. Eighty years later, an archaeological crew uncover the set and release the beast, which starts killing them off while looking for an Eye of Horus necklace that can protect against it.

For the first half of the movie, aside from an opening scene set in 1923 with a painfully bad depiction of Cecil B. DeMille, it actually manages to be almost not-stupid. Which for any script written by Kevin Van Hook is a giant step forward. That, however, makes the second half of the film, which devolves into the usual idiocy one expects from a Kevin Van Hook joint, all the more disappointing. The first half has some half-decent acting and does its best to build suspense, but then we get right down into the effects-heavy unnecessary-plot-twists kind of thing that Van Hook does so well (or so badly, depending on your point of view). And, well, there you go, another Sci-FI Channel Original Movie that's a Sci-Fi Channel Original Movie for a reason. **
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Just bad..., May 18, 2010
This review is from: Sands of Oblivion (DVD)
If there's one thing that the Sci-Fi channel (now titled "SyFy Channel") excels at, it is creating insanely bad made-for-TV movies. Sometimes the channel surprises us & the films are entertaining to watch, such as the miniseries Tin Man. Other times the films are bad, but have some sort of entertainment value to them. Then you have the films where it is just so bad that you just don't know why they were made in the first place. Sands of Oblivion falls somewhere between completely unwatchable & sadistically entertaining in its badness.

When the famous director DeMille made The Ten Commandments (not the remake with Charleston Heston, but the 1930s original), he ordered the set to be buried forever in the sands it was filmed in. Years later an intrepid professor has decided to unearth DeMille's hidden set, unaware that DeMille hid it in order to hide the evil it contains!

On a side note, I'd like to inform any watchers that DeMille burying the set of the original Ten Commandments is a true story- it is buried just off of Hollywood, where a group of preservationists are trying to keep it intact. It's actually an interesting story & is one that you can find on google, if you are interested.

Now, with such an interesting & relatively new plot idea you would think that would help the movie out. You would also think that between that & a crew that does a decent acting job, the movie would be salvageable. No, not even an interesting plot idea or OK acting could save this movie from terminal boredom. The script is just poorly written. Not even the hot Adam Baldwin can save this film, although he does provide one of the only interesting enough characters in the film.

I am fully aware that the channel can & has done worse, but this is pretty much a waste of time to watch & a waste of money to purchase. If you are really insistent on watching this, rent it. Just don't be surprised if you find yourself tuning out or stopping the movie entirely.
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10 of 14 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars It cannot get worse than this!, April 6, 2010
By 
Dave (Franklin, TN) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Sands of Oblivion (DVD)
I rented this movie via Amazon download because I was looking for some entertainment since I was not tired enough to go to bed. The reviews of this movie were on average not bad. So, based upon the reviews I rented and watched the movie. Well, I did not think it was possible for a number of people to participate in a gag, but you got me in this case. I am not afraid to admit I was taken and accordingly I warn other potential viewers of this film that it maybe the worst movie I have ever seen. I cannot decide which was worse, the story or the acting. Either way, both contributed to this heap of nonsense that may have had some appeal to viewers who were seven years old or intellectually under that age. I have to assume that viewers who wrote a review were doing so in jest because I cannot believe any adult who is not institutionalized could rate this film above 1 star. I say this because I do not believe there is a rating less than that in the Amazon system. I am assuming that the reviews of this film were joking because otherwise, my beliefs about the standards of American society will not accept the alternative. This review might be insulting to some of those who actually rated this film above 1 star. I hope it is not and that your reviews have enabled you to get a good laugh at my expense. That's OK. I can take a joke. I only hope that you were really joking.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Good idea, bad follow through, January 31, 2011
This review is from: Sands of Oblivion (DVD)
I watched this movie knowing that it was a low budget film but I never knew it would be this bad. The whole movie wasn't a complete waste of time. For starters the idea and the plot were all there and were good but everything around that was lacking severely.

The acting was horrible. Absolutely horrible, it was like a bunch of high school students got together to do the acting, they were either trying to hard to make what they were doing look good or just didn't care. The dialog could also contribute to the acting but that was horrible too. There was never anything really interesting being said and what was being said was plain boring. The CGI was the worst that I have ever seen. Everything looked super fake. I understand that this is a low budget film but I believe that a junior in college could of done better and they would of worked for ten times less than what a grad would work for. The death scenes that were portrayed in the movie were just as bad as the CGI. It was almost like they were trying to make a gory movie and got lost in the way. Last but not least was the monster. The costume could of been ten times better yet, instead it looked like a deformed wookie.

The movie wasn't a complete waste of time to watch but it was definitely close. If you are looking for a good idea behind a movie but lacking everywhere else this would be a good movie. That or if you are really bored and just looking for something to do. I would definitely recommend this movie to someone who is looking at going into anything to do with movie production and see where the producers made the mistakes and try to not make them as well.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Did we all see the same film?, September 26, 2009
This review is from: Sands of Oblivion (DVD)
I'm a big fan of Adam Baldwin and I'm familiar with the fact that he's starred in some questionable films, but this is the worst I've seen yet. The pacing in the movie does a real disservice to any acting potential there may have been and the special effects are laughable. I'm really not sure why this film exists or what niche it fills. The writing is painful, there's virtually no chemistry between the actors -- it actually seems as though (and it's likely, given how bad the CG in the film is) the actors' parts were all filmed in separate rooms and digitally pieced together.

There's nothing very interesting or notable about the story-line. Since the pacing was off, the twist in the movie lost a lot of the momentum it might have had if the film hadn't been so poorly directed in the first place.

Unless this is a specific area of interest or you're watching it for one of the actors (in which case, you should really be prepared anyway), I'd recommend skipping it. There are much better movies on the topic and much better movies featuring the actors, so there's really just no reason to put yourself through this.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Prime example of the value of special effects, August 16, 2008
By 
David Portela (São Paulo, Brazil) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Sands of Oblivion (DVD)
The plot is simple: an amulet is used to imprison an ancient (and evil) Egyptian god, who will not be released while the amulet is buried. Freemasons throughout the centuries work to keep the amulet safe, including Cecil DeMille, who buries it under the set of one of his films in the U.S.. About 80 years later, it is dug up by someone who was at the original set. A few archaeologists are also at hand digging the site up, the god is released, chaos ensues, heroes save the day.

The acting is actually quite good, as in most of the Sci-Fi productions I've seen. Morena Baccarin and Adam Baldwin are great (I've missed seeing them together since Firefly/Serenity).

The special effects are what make this film something less than a success. The opening scenes are so obviously green-screened that it's painful to watch. The large monuments in the background look *too* shiny and new (even right after they were built, they wouldn't look that way). Later on, when you see the Egyptian god kill someone while silhouetted against a wall, it looks like someone hung some rags on a broomstick to make the shadow. There's no articulation in the shadow's arms. What could have been a nice little feature is plagued by these SFX mishaps throughout, which really breaks immersion and suspension of disbelief. Honestly, I've seen better special effects in some home-made videos on YouTube.

It's really a shame, because the cinematography is quite good (the buggy chase scene is particularly well done), the lighting is good throughout, direction is not bad, and the plot and cast added to all of these should have helped it to become a good movie (even if only for TV/DVD).

I agree that there shouldn't be a sequel to this. We already have too many Egyptian-god-franchises that have outlasted their glory days to add yet another one to the mix (e.g. Stargate, The Mummy, The Scorpion King).

Watchable once for the plot, direction, cinematography and good acting, but don't try to get too into it because the poor SFX will yank you out of it over and over. -- David Portela
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Sands of Oblivion
Sands of Oblivion by David Flores (DVD - 2008)
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