Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Boarding Prometheus, Part II

As Prometheus prepares to land in theaters this Friday, let’s take a look at some non-”Alien” franchise science-fiction films that you might be interested in viewing. 

Event Horizon
This is basically a poor man’s “The Shining,” but set in space, yet strangely, it somehow works, despite all its flaws. It’s the year 2047. The spaceship “Event Horizon” has emerged under the atmosphere of Neptune after disappearing 7 years prior, all in the name of experiments for LIGHT SPEED! A rescue is hastily dispatched to the returned vessel after a transmission was picked up from the ship, vaguely resembling a human’s cry for help. Once the crew boards the Event Horizon, it becomes evident that there is some sort of supernatural disturbance that threatens their very survival!! BLOOD ORGIES ENSUE!
Saying that this is Paul W.S. Anderson’s best film really isn’t saying much, but there it is. Surprisingly, the film manages to hold up better than I had expected. There are some nice homages to other sci-fi films and it wears its influences on its sleeve. The concept is pretty strong, and under a better director, this could have been one of the most frightening films ever made, no doubt. The first half is filled with intensely unsettling moments, but it all goes to hell (literally) in the second half, where it collapses into a generic action flick. Anderson relies too heavily on lackluster jump scares and a loud soundtrack to compensate for his shortcomings as a filmmaker, compromising the strong atmosphere and gripping tension that he had earned in the beginning. It’s only through luck that “Event Horizon” ends up being as entertaining as it is, warts and all. 
The characters are interesting, albeit rather undercooked. The cast, which includes Sam Neil, Lawrence Fishburne, Sean Pertwee, Jason Isaacs (who gets the best death), Joely Richardson, Kathleen Quinlan, and Richard T. Jones. All of them do a serviceable job with what they were given, elevating the film's quality, proving that a strong cast goes a long way. 
The film has a decent amount of gore, some chilling images, and a god damn blood orgy. That’s right, a Blood Orgy. If that doesn’t sell you on this film, I don’t really want to know you. 
FUN FACT: The first cut of the film had a longer "Visions from Hell" sequence, more blood, and a different, though similar, ending. The test audience didn't like it, so it was re-cut with an alternate ending involving what director Paul W.S. Anderson called "The Burning Man Sequence." The second test audience didn't like that version, and the film was edited again. The final cut is a less-intense hybrid of both test screenings, with significantly less gore. 

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