Sands of Oblivion (2007) [Blu-ray]
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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.Read more ›
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.
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.
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. **
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Adam Baldwin and George Kennedy (from the Airpirt movies). History and Science Fiction combine to sweep the sand into shape. Absolutely one of my favorite Syfy movies.Published 15 days ago by Dej
This picture is a bomb from the word go.Awful writing by Jeff Coatney and Kevin Vanhook account for much of the badness of this film,but the actors do their share with wooden... Read morePublished 24 days ago by Charles H. Levenson
Way to go Hollywood. I have just bought my last blu ray disc. Turns out then cannot be played on Linux unless you break their code. So.... Read morePublished 6 months ago by T. J. Bigford