Saturday, 24 September 2011

Sci-Fi Movie Capers: Event Horizon (Paramount, 1997)

It is the year 2047. In the orbit of Neptune, lies the ship the Event Horizon, thought to have been missing for years, suddenly reappearing from nowhere. The USAC vessel Lewis & Clark is sent to investigate, and bring back any survivors that may be aboard. The ragtag crew, led by Captain Miller (Laurence Fishburne), consists of the ships Trauma Doctor D.J (Jason Isaacs), pilot Smith (Sean Pertwee), Lieutenant Stark (Joely Richardson), Engineer Ensign Justin (Jack Noseworthy), Medical Technician Peters (Kathleen Quinlan), and Rescue Technician Cooper (Richard T. Jones). Joining the crew is Dr. William Weir (Sam Niell), who helped to build the ship, and it's Gravity Drive, which bridges two points in space using an artificial black hole created by the drive's gravitational power. Upon arrival, the ship's orbit is decaying, and most of the crew go aboard. But, one by one, they succumb to the powerful force that has inhabited the ship when it left the artificial black hole. Where it went is a mystery. What it has brought back will rip the life from them.

Directed by Paul Anderson, Event Horizon isn't a film you'd associate with the director, who has made a name adapting video games to movies, like the Resident Evil series and Mortal Kombat, as it's an original tale in the mould of ALIEN mixed with The Haunting. The story is an original one: a ship thought lost returns, bringing with it a malevolent force of pure evil which made the original crew kill each other in violent, and sadistic even masochistic ways. It does sound like something associated with a haunted house movie, but that was something Anderson was aiming for.

Originally, he had made a rough cut of just over two hours, that was more gory, and added some back story to the characters. Unfortunately, Paramount ordered the more violent, and gory, parts, as well as said backstory, cut from the film because of the audience reaction at test screenings. This footage has been lost, which is a shame as I'd love to see the film as Anderson intended. But, as it stands, it is a great movie with no boring bits, it just goes straight into the meat of the film. The music actually fits the film perfectly, and the special effects are awesome, with some excellent model work. There is a disappointment, though, and it comes at the start. When we first see the Lewis & Clark and it zooms in on the cockpit, the image where they've imposed it on the model is a bit iffy. Even Anderson has admitted this in the commentary on the 2 disc dvd, and wished he'd gone back and fixed it.

Still, it's a top movie, with some great performances. It unfairly got left behind at the box office, but picked up on video rentals which is where I found out about it, and I enjoyed every bloodsoaked moment of it!

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