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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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Anthony Claret: The "spiritual father of Cuba" was a missionary, religious founder, social reformer, queen’s chaplain, writer and publisher, archbishop and refugee. He was a Spaniard whose work took him to the Canary Islands, Cuba, Madrid, Paris and to the First Vatican Council. 
<p>In his spare time as weaver and designer in the textile mills of Barcelona, he learned Latin and printing: The future priest and publisher was preparing. Ordained at 28, he was prevented by ill health from entering religious life as a Carthusian or as a Jesuit, but went on to become one of Spain’s most popular preachers. </p><p>He spent 10 years giving popular missions and retreats, always placing great emphasis on the Eucharist and devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. Her rosary, it was said, was never out of his hand. At 42, beginning with five young priests, he founded a religious institute of missionaries, known today as the Claretians. </p><p>He was appointed to head the much-neglected archdiocese of Santiago in Cuba. He began its reform by almost ceaseless preaching and hearing of confessions, and suffered bitter opposition mainly for opposing concubinage and giving instruction to black slaves. A hired assassin (whose release from prison Anthony had obtained) slashed open his face and wrist. Anthony succeeded in getting the would-be assassin’s death sentence commuted to a prison term. His solution for the misery of Cubans was family-owned farms producing a variety of foods for the family’s own needs and for the market. This invited the enmity of the vested interests who wanted everyone to work on a single cash crop—sugar. Besides all his religious writings are two books he wrote in Cuba: <i>Reflections on Agriculture</i> and <i>Country Delights</i>. </p><p>He was recalled to Spain for a job he did not relish—being chaplain for the queen. He went on three conditions: He would reside away from the palace, he would come only to hear the queen’s confession and instruct the children and he would be exempt from court functions. In the revolution of 1868, he fled with the queen’s party to Paris, where he preached to the Spanish colony. </p><p>All his life Anthony was interested in the Catholic press. He founded the Religious Publishing House, a major Catholic publishing venture in Spain, and wrote or published 200 books and pamphlets. </p><p>At Vatican I, where he was a staunch defender of the doctrine of infallibility, he won the admiration of his fellow bishops. Cardinal Gibbons of Baltimore remarked of him, "There goes a true saint." At the age of 63, he died in exile near the border of Spain.</p> American Catholic Blog The greatest tragedy of our world is that men do not know, really know, that God loves them. Some believe it in a shadowy sort of way. If they were to really think about it they would soon realize that their belief in God’s love for them is very remote and abstract. Because of this lack of realization of God’s love for them, men do not know how to love God back. —Catherine de Hueck Doherty

 
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