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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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Leopold Mandic: Western Christians who are working for greater dialogue with Orthodox Christians may be reaping the fruits of Father Leopold’s prayers.
<p>A native of Croatia, Leopold joined the Capuchin Franciscans and was ordained several years later in spite of several health problems. He could not speak loudly enough to preach publicly. For many years he also suffered from severe arthritis, poor eyesight and a stomach ailment.
</p><p>Leopold taught patrology, the study of the Church Fathers, to the clerics of his province for several years, but he is best known for his work in the confessional, where he sometimes spent 13-15 hours a day. Several bishops sought out his spiritual advice.
</p><p>Leopold’s dream was to go to the Orthodox Christians and work for the reunion of Roman Catholicism and Orthodoxy. His health never permitted it. Leopold often renewed his vow to go to the Eastern Christians; the cause of unity was constantly in his prayers.
</p><p>At a time when Pope Pius XII said that the greatest sin of our time is "to have lost all sense of sin," Leopold had a profound sense of sin and an even firmer sense of God’s grace awaiting human cooperation.
</p><p>Leopold, who lived most of his life in Padua, died on July 30, 1942, and was canonized in 1982.</p> American Catholic Blog Heavenly Father, give me the grace to be grateful and to use my gifts and talents to show your love to others so that when they see me, they recognize you living in me and loving them through me. I ask this in Jesus's name, Amen.

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