is a sci-fi thriller that takes place in a world where Earth is on the brink of self-destruction, suffering from overpopulation and lack of resources. In order to avoid extinction, a massive spaceship named the Elysium is created to take 60,000 humans to a new planet named Tanis, which was recently discovered to have favorable conditions to human life. Since the trip will take 123 years, the passengers are put in a cryogenic sleeping state. Unfortunately, things do not go as planned.
The movie opens with Lt. Bower, a member of the ship’s flight crew played by Ben Foster, waking up from his cryogenic sleep. He is disoriented and confused, suffering from memory-loss from the deep sleep. He is quickly joined by the awakening of Lt. Payton, played by Dennis Quaid. Their incomplete memories have them wondering where they are, what their mission was, how much time has passed, etc. They learn that the power is malfunctioning, and as a result they are unable to leave the room they are in to get to the main control room of the Elysium. Lt. Bower is able to crawl through an air vent, and they resolve to find a way to the main energy source on the ship and restore full energy, with Lt. Payton guiding Lt. Bower through a comlink.
One of the things that makes this movie really cool is that the audience knows only as much as the main character Lt. Bower does. As he gradually begins to learn of the horrors that have taken place on the ship while he has been asleep, so does the audience. In this way Christian Alvert, the director, is able to successfully convey a sense of fear and suspense in the audience. Little by little, Lt. Bower and the audience learn what has happened, both through his flashbacks and the people and things he encounters on his journey to the main energy source. Two other people join him on his journey, and they are of great help to him. This journey is wrought with great hardships and trials, most alarming of which are the genetically mutated creatures that roam the ship and prey on its helpless passengers.
Another aspect of this movie that adds to its scariness is the effective way in which Alvert attempts to make the audience feel the psychosis that the main characters are experiencing. When Lt. Bower is crawling through the air vent, the claustrophobia he is feeling is also felt by the audience through the close-up camera angles employed by Alvert, as well as Ben Fosters’ exceptional acting skills. Additionally, Alvert attempts to evoke a feeling of pandorum from the audience simultaneously as the characters experience it. Pandorum is a mental illness that is brought about by being in deep-space for long periods of time. Its symptoms include paranoia, hallucinations and homicidal rage. The main characters begin to suffer from it, and Alvert is able to convey this to the audience through erratic camera shifts, blurring and close-ups. These cinematic effects add to the scary aspect of this movie, and definitely solidify it as a thriller.
As far as acting, Ben Foster did an undeniably wonderful job portraying Lt. Bower. His reactions were perfect, as well as his ability to successfully portray the different mental illnesses he was feeling. It is safe to say that we will be seeing more of him in upcoming films. Veteran Dennis Quaid’s performance came off as satisfactory, with nothing very special about it. One might even say his reputation surpasses his skills. Cam Gigadent’s acting was even worse; he should stick to Twilight movies.
Some people may dismiss this movie as merely another sci-fi movie that borrows tired elements from other movies, such as the mutated creatures or the apocalyptic setting. There have even been direct comparisons to or . While it is true that these movies do share some common elements, the fact remains that there are only so many topics when it comes to science fiction movies. Since so many science fiction movies are produced every year, it’s only natural that some elements are reused. However, what makes stand out is the thrilling and new way in which they are presented, and it is surely worth a watch. While the continuing fights between Lt. Bower’s group and the mutated creatures may get tiresome to some viewers, the ending more than makes up for it.