[Movie Review] Event Horizon

Event HorizonStarring: Laurence Fishburne, Joely Richardson, Sam Neill, Sean Pertwee, Kathleen Quinlan
Director: Paul Anderson
Genre: Sci-Fi
Cert: 18
Released: 1997

The thing about science fiction movies is that they are permitted a fair bit of poetic licence. When the doctor explains the way the hypothermal reactive core activator works, the average viewer is probably going to take his or her word for it. Such is the setting of “Event Horizon”, the chances that any of the scientific reality can be argued is quite slim.

The year is, curiously, 2047. Seven years previous, the Event Horizon, a ship sent to discover what existed in the furthest reaches of outer space, disappeared. But when a distress signal is identified as coming from the ship, a Search and Rescue team are sent to rescue the crew and find out where the ship has been for seven years.

Captain Miller (Fishburne – “What’s Love Got to Do With It?”, “Deep Cover”) is the aggressive leader who is accompanied by his main crew of Justin (Jack Noseworthy), Cooper (Richard T Jones), Peters (Kathleen Quinlan), Starck (Richardson – “Loch Ness”) and Smith (Pertwee). Coming along for the ride is Dr Weir (Neill – “In The Mouth of Madness”, “The Piano”, “Dead Calm”) who explains to the incredulous crew that there was more to the Event Horizon than met the eye. The ship contained a gateway device that allowed the ship to travel faster than the speed of light but soon after activating the gatweay, contact with the ship had ceased.

When the rescue crew located and board the ship they find no signs of human life and eventually it becomes clear that something else is in evidence on the Event Horizon. There is some form of life but not a form that they are familiar with…

“Event Horizon” has all the trappings of a classic sci-fi movie. The storyline is suitably dark and distant, the characters are diverse and shallow, the effects are more than effective and the action is tense at times. Unfortunately there are contriving circumstances that derail a promising movie. While the characters are diverse, they are also too familiar – seen a million times before in films like “Species” and the “Alien” series. There is the impetuous rookie, the coloured smartalec, the loose cannon, the strong-minded woman, the die-for-his-ship Captain, the science guru and the jack of all trades technician. Their familiarity lends a ‘seen it all before’ veil to the action.

While the film starts very well, it starts to peter out about half-way through. This isn’t down to a lack of endeavour from the cast who all turn in impressive performances but is rather due to the lack of identity of a ‘bad guy’. The ship displays evil tendencies but there is really no physical entity visible to direct your loathing at and soon you are fairly bored.

It’s not a dead loss by any means but I would think either of the first two Alien movies would be worth a watch again rather than this. After the useless “Shopping”, director Paul Anderson will have to prove himself to me. Perhaps his forthcoming release, “Soldier”, will make the grade.


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