August 20th, 2014

The Enterprise

Not the Horizon but the Corridor



People living in dingy, vaguely skeletal spacecraft cabins and corridors really don't seem to appreciate them. I sure do. If I'd seen Event Horizon when it first came out, I might have found it disappointing. But having seen it only last week, I was too busy being thrilled by the Alien and Aliens influences on the look of the film, a particular manifestation of said influence you'd only see in the 90s, to be distracted by the disappointing conclusion of the film.

It begins strongly enough, with a decent cast including Laurence Fishburne as captain of the salvage craft sent to investigate the reappearance of a long lost test ship called the Event Horizon and Sam Neill as the obsessive and slightly sinister scientist who designed the mysterious ship and its wormhole drive.



I love how the drive is housed in a room with unexplained, huge spikes on the walls of the spherical chamber which, of course, threaten impalement when people are floating around without artificial gravity.



But I'm even more delighted by just regular corridors, bridges, and cockpits. You can tell so much love went into these, more than went into the script. The film's directed by Paul W.S. Anderson who later showed his limited imagination with Alien vs Predator. Here, he's like some knight besides Arthur who has managed to draw Excalibur from the stone.



In addition to Fishburne and Neill, the movie has a nice group of rough, ornery supporting cast in the Alien tradition. Though one has cause to appreciate the remarkable way in which the best Alien movies managed to portray their large casts. The were moments in Event Horizon where it felt like I lost track of characters at times I really shouldn't have. When one person is alone in the med bay I found myself wondering why I hadn't seen another character for some time. There's also a problem in a somewhat cartoonishly rendered young man played by Richard T. Jones who at one point manages to escape being shot out into space in a wholly unbelievable way.



The main problem, though, is the nature of the threat the crew faces. I like the idea of something dangerous and unimaginable coming from a place where time is folded on itself, some place that exists in some unknown crack outside the laws of physics as we know them. It's certainly Lovecraftian. But while Lovecraft (happy birthday, H.P.)--and Alien--portrayed these horrifically strange menaces as being enormous in the implication of their lack of regard for what we value, Event Horizon has a much smaller, almost Freddy Krueger level villain.



Still, loving those model space ships and the cluttered interiors. All part of a particular flavour of 90s love for the Alien films. I mean, we love the Alien movies now, but I feel like our 90s counterparts had a different perspective. Those corridors, really influenced by the padded chambers in 2001 but distressed, made black, green, and rusty even before aliens show up. It makes me want to play Quake.


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