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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