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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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Peter and Paul: 
		<strong>Peter (d. 64?)</strong>. St. Mark ends the first half of his Gospel with a triumphant climax. He has recorded doubt, misunderstanding and the opposition of many to Jesus. Now Peter makes his great confession of faith: "You are the Messiah" (Mark 8:29b). It was one of the many glorious moments in Peter's life, beginning with the day he was called from his nets along the Sea of Galilee to become a fisher of men for Jesus. 
<p>The New Testament clearly shows Peter as the leader of the apostles, chosen by Jesus to have a special relationship with him. With James and John he was privileged to witness the Transfiguration, the raising of a dead child to life and the agony in Gethsemane. His mother-in-law was cured by Jesus. He was sent with John to prepare for the last Passover before Jesus' death. His name is first on every list of apostles. </p><p>And to Peter only did Jesus say, "Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah. For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my heavenly Father. And so I say to you, you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of the netherworld shall not prevail against it. I will give you the keys to the kingdom of heaven. Whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven; and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven" (Matthew 16:17b-19). </p><p>But the Gospels prove their own trustworthiness by the unflattering details they include about Peter. He clearly had no public relations person. It is a great comfort for ordinary mortals to know that Peter also has his human weakness, even in the presence of Jesus. </p><p>He generously gave up all things, yet he can ask in childish self-regard, "What are we going to get for all this?" (see Matthew 19:27). He receives the full force of Christ's anger when he objects to the idea of a suffering Messiah: "Get behind me, Satan! You are an obstacle to me. You are thinking not as God does, but as human beings do" (Matthew 16:23b). </p><p>Peter is willing to accept Jesus' doctrine of forgiveness, but suggests a limit of seven times. He walks on the water in faith, but sinks in doubt. He refuses to let Jesus wash his feet, then wants his whole body cleansed. He swears at the Last Supper that he will never deny Jesus, and then swears to a servant maid that he has never known the man. He loyally resists the first attempt to arrest Jesus by cutting off Malchus's ear, but in the end he runs away with the others. In the depth of his sorrow, Jesus looks on him and forgives him, and he goes out and sheds bitter tears. The Risen Jesus told Peter to feed his lambs and his sheep (John 21:15-17). </p><p><strong>Paul (d. 64?)</strong>. If the most well-known preacher today suddenly began preaching that the United States should adopt Marxism and not rely on the Constitution, the angry reaction would help us understand Paul's life when he started preaching that Christ alone can save us. He had been the most Pharisaic of Pharisees, the most legalistic of Mosaic lawyers. Now he suddenly appears to other Jews as a heretical welcomer of Gentiles, a traitor and apostate. </p><p>Paul's central conviction was simple and absolute: Only God can save humanity. No human effort—even the most scrupulous observance of law—can create a human good which we can bring to God as reparation for sin and payment for grace. To be saved from itself, from sin, from the devil and from death, humanity must open itself completely to the saving power of Jesus. </p><p>Paul never lost his love for his Jewish family, though he carried on a lifelong debate with them about the uselessness of the Law without Christ. He reminded the Gentiles that they were grafted on the parent stock of the Jews, who were still God's chosen people, the children of the promise. </p><p>In light of his preaching and teaching skills, Paul's name has surfaced (among others) as a possible patron of the Internet.</p> American Catholic Blog The way of the cross is unavoidably uphill. Christians don’t get to carry their cross downhill. Suffering has always been inextricably linked with Christianity, but those who carry their cross willingly in these times can serve as an example and inspiration to all of us.

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