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




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Louis of France: At his coronation as king of France, Louis IX bound himself by oath to behave as God’s anointed, as the father of his people and feudal lord of the King of Peace. Other kings had done the same, of course. Louis was different in that he actually interpreted his kingly duties in the light of faith. After the violence of two previous reigns, he brought peace and justice. 
<p>He was crowned king at 12, at his father’s death. His mother, Blanche of Castile, ruled during his minority. When he was 19 and his bride 12, he was married to Marguerite of Provence. It was a loving marriage, though not without challenge. They had 11 children. </p><p>Louis “took the cross” for a Crusade when he was 30. His army seized Damietta ini Egypt but not long after, weakened by dysentery and without support, they were surrounded and captured. Louis obtained the release of the army by giving up the city of Damietta in addition to paying a ransom. He stayed in Syria four years. </p><p>He deserves credit for extending justice in civil administration. His regulations for royal officials became the first of a series of reform laws. He replaced trial by battle with a form of examination of witnesses and encouraged the use of written records in court. </p><p>Louis was always respectful of the papacy, but defended royal interests against the popes and refused to acknowledge Innocent IV’s sentence against Emperor Frederick II. </p><p>Louis was devoted to his people, founding hospitals, visiting the sick and, like his patron St. Francis (October 4), caring even for people with leprosy. (He is one of the patrons of the Secular Franciscan Order.) Louis united France—lords and townsfolk, peasants and priests and knights—by the force of his personality and holiness. For many years the nation was at peace. </p><p>Every day Louis had 13 special guests from among the poor to eat with him, and a large number of poor were served meals near his palace. During Advent and Lent, all who presented themselves were given a meal, and Louis often served them in person. He kept lists of needy people, whom he regularly relieved, in every province of his dominion. </p><p>Disturbed by new Muslim advances in Syria, he led another crusade in 1267, at the age of 41. His crusade was diverted to Tunis for his brother’s sake. The army was decimated by disease within a month, and Louis himself died on foreign soil at the age of 44. He was canonized 27 years later.</p> American Catholic Blog God passes through the thicket of the world, and wherever His glance falls He turns all things to beauty. <br />–St. John of the Cross

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