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ON FAITH & MEDIA View Comments

Pandorum

By
Kurt Jensen
Source: Catholic News Service

Hypersleep is tough on movie characters, and even more brutal on science-fiction plots.

In "Pandorum" (Overture), a complex and deeply cliched horror excursion, director Christian Alvart and screenwriter Travis Milloy have astronauts Lt. Payton (Dennis Quaid) and Cpl. Bower (Ben Foster), awaken from an eight-year hypersleep—six years longer than they were supposed to have had before resuming their shift—to find that they can't recall their spaceship's mission.

On top of that, their dark and very noisy craft, the Elysium, which appears to be twice as immense as the one in Mel Brooks' spoof "Spaceballs," has a balky power plant that needs a reset, plus an infestation of pesky mutants who have somehow mastered ninja fighting.

As the intrepid Bower, radioing his progress to Payton, snakes his way to the power plant while coming across a few terrified crew members and a heaping helping of surly mutants, in between a lot of psychobabble, we learn the Elysium's mission: It's a sort of Noah's Ark designed to take Earth life forms to another hospitable planet when Earth was about to go kaboom.

But treachery from an earlier crew driven mad by the aftereffects of hypersleep (called Pandorum, you see) was afoot during the past eight years, and the pale, blobby mutants somehow evolved and are skittering about.

Just as this tired mix of devices borrowed from other films has run its course, the saga is partly redeemed by a surprising double-twist ending, making the whole trip—well, at least the moviegoers', anyway—appear somehow worthwhile. Strong language is the only objectionable element; the action violence is what you'd expect from kung-fu mutants, and there are some knife fights as well.

The film contains at least one rough term, occasional profane and crass language and some martial arts and knife violence. The USCCB Office for Film & Broadcasting classification is A-III -- adults. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is R— restricted; under 17 requires accompanying parent or adult guardian.
______________________________

Jensen is a guest reviewer for the Office for Film & Broadcasting of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.


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Philip and James: 
		<b>James, Son of Alphaeus:</b> We know nothing of this man except his name, and of course the fact that Jesus chose him to be one of the 12 pillars of the New Israel, his Church. He is not the James of Acts, son of Clopas, “brother” of Jesus and later bishop of Jerusalem and the traditional author of the Letter of James. James, son of Alphaeus, is also known as James the Lesser to avoid confusing him with James the son of Zebedee, also an apostle and known as James the Greater. 
<p><b>Philip:</b> Philip came from the same town as Peter and Andrew, Bethsaida in Galilee. Jesus called him directly, whereupon he sought out Nathanael and told him of the “one about whom Moses wrote” (John 1:45). </p><p>Like the other apostles, Philip took a long time coming to realize who Jesus was. On one occasion, when Jesus saw the great multitude following him and wanted to give them food, he asked Philip where they should buy bread for the people to eat. St. John comments, “[Jesus] said this to test him, because he himself knew what he was going to do” (John 6:6). Philip answered, “Two hundred days’ wages worth of food would not be enough for each of them to have a little [bit]” (John 6:7). </p><p>John’s story is not a put-down of Philip. It was simply necessary for these men who were to be the foundation stones of the Church to see the clear distinction between humanity’s total helplessness apart from God and the human ability to be a bearer of divine power by God’s gift. </p><p>On another occasion, we can almost hear the exasperation in Jesus’ voice. After Thomas had complained that they did not know where Jesus was going, Jesus said, “I am the way...If you know me, then you will also know my Father. From now on you do know him and have seen him” (John 14:6a, 7). Then Philip said, “Master, show us the Father, and that will be enough for us” (John 14:8). Enough! Jesus answered, “Have I been with you for so long a time and you still do not know me, Philip? Whoever has seen me has seen the Father” (John 14:9a). </p><p>Possibly because Philip bore a Greek name or because he was thought to be close to Jesus, some Gentile proselytes came to him and asked him to introduce them to Jesus. Philip went to Andrew, and Andrew went to Jesus. Jesus’ reply in John’s Gospel is indirect; Jesus says that now his “hour” has come, that in a short time he will give his life for Jew and Gentile alike.</p> American Catholic Blog Don’t believe, sisters, that assistance consists only in giving medicines and food to the sick. There is another type of assistance that must never be forgotten, and it is the assistance of the heart that adjusts and enters in sympathy with the person who suffers and goes to meet his needs. –St. Maria Josefa of the Heart of Jesus

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