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Paul W.S. Anderson
Laurence Fishburne, Sam Neill, Kathleen Quinlan, Joely Richardson, Richard T. Jones, Jack Noseworthy, Jason Isaacs, Sean Pertwee
Writing Credits:
Philip Eisner

Infinite Space - Infinite Terror.

The year is 2047. Years earlier, the pioneering research vessel "Event Horizon" vanished without a trace. Now a signal from it has been detected, and the United States Aerospace Command responds. Hurtling toward the signal's source are a fearless captain (Laurence Fishburne), his elite crew and the lost ship's designer (Sam Neill). Their mission: find and salvage the state-of-the-art spacecraft. What they find is state-of-the-art interstellar terror. What they must salvage are their own lives, because someone or something is ready to ensnare them in a new dimension of unimaginable fear.

Box Office:
$70 million.
Opening Weekend
$9.511 million on 2311 screens.
Domestic Gross
$26.616 million.

Rated R

Widescreen 2.35:1/16x9
English Dolby Digital 5.1
English DTS 5.1
English Dolby 2.0
French Dolby Digital 5.1

Runtime: 95 min.
Price: $19.99
Release Date: 4/18/2006

Disc One
• Audio Commentary with Director Paul WS Anderson and Producer Jeremy Bolt
• Previews
Disc Two
• “The Making of Event Horizon” Five-Part Documentary
• Deleted and Extended Scenes with Optional Commentary
• “The Un-Filmed Rescue Scene”
• Conceptual Art
• Behind-the-Scenes Footage with Commentary from Director Paul WS Anderson
• Trailers


Sony 36" WEGA KV-36FS12 Monitor; Sony DA333ES Processor/Receiver; Panasonic CV-50 DVD Player using component outputs; Michael Green Revolution Cinema 6i Speakers (all five); Sony SA-WM40 Subwoofer.


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Event Horizon: Special Collector's Edition (1997)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (April 10, 2006)

Based on my normal viewing preferences, I should really like the works of director Paul WS Anderson. As of spring 2006, he’s made six flicks, four of which I’d seen: Mortal Kombat, Soldier, Resident Evil and Alien Vs. Predator. I thought Resident Evil was reasonably entertaining, but the others were flawed and generally problematic.

Given the minor cult that has formed around it over the last nine years, I held out hope that perhaps 1997’s Event Horizon would finally provided an Anderson film for me to love. At the flick’s start, text tells that in 2040, the “deep space research vessel ‘Event Horizon’ launched to explore boundaries of solar system.”

It soon vanishes and doesn’t reappear until 2047. At that time, authorities receive a weak transmission from the Horizon. They send a search and rescue mission headed by Captain Miller (Laurence Fishburne) and his crew on the Lewis and Clark. They take along Dr. William Weir (Sam Neill), the designer of the Horizon. When they find the vessel, they encounter many frightening and threatening situations.

While I won’t call Horizon a rip-off of Alien, Anderson certainly wears his influences on his sleeve. Indeed, Resident Evil showed many allusions to Aliens, so I suppose it makes sense that Anderson had previously paid homage to the original flick in the series. References to the 1979 classic abound in Horizon and give the film a stale sense that reflects a lack of inspiration.

Though Anderson borrows from many other flicks as well. Aliens isn’t the only source for Horizon. Its sci-fi ghost story displays signs of movies like The Shining, Hellraiser and a mix of other horror films. If many original moments exist here, it seems difficult to find them.

Frankly, I almost wish Anderson had simply ripped off only one source and created a de facto remake of Alien or whatever else suited him. At least if he stayed with one inspiration he might have managed a movie with a coherent and compelling story. Horizon takes a very simple search and rescue plot and muddles it badly. Not much about the movie makes sense, and it does little to prompt us to care about it. With its generic characters and cheap horror scares, the film doesn’t create a world with anything to maintain our interest.

In the process, Anderson wastes a surprisingly strong cast. While you won’t find a single “A”-list star here, that doesn’t mean we don’t discover a lot of talent. In addition to Fishburne and Neill, the film includes folks such as Jason Isaacs, Kathleen Quinlan and Joely Richardson. We find a rather deep roster of actors when we consider the “B”-movie origins of Horizon.

Too bad Anderson doesn’t have the slightest clue what to do with them. Rarely will you see so many talented actors look quite so bored and clueless. Not a single one of them manages to do anything with their flat characters. Of course, the one-dimensional script causes some of those problems, but in the hands of a more capable director, the performers could have elevated their roles. That doesn’t happen here, as the actors seem just as disenchanted with this stale material as I was.

I can’t say I consider Event Horizon to be a disappointment. After all, Paul WS Anderson hasn’t managed to make any really good movies, so I couldn’t expect anything great. Nonetheless, given its positive reputation, I hoped for more from it but I felt it came up short.

The DVD Grades: Picture B/ Audio B/ Bonus A-

Event Horizon appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.35:1 on this single-sided, double-layered DVD; the image has been enhanced for 16X9 televisions. This transfer fell into the good but not great category.

Sharpness faltered only on a few occasions. Some light edge enhancement meant that some wide shots looked a bit soft. However, these didn’t cause many distractions, and the majority of the movie displayed solid delineation. I saw no signs of jagged edges or shimmering, but source flaws created some concerns. Periodic examples of specks and grit popped up through the film. Though these weren’t constant, they occurred more than I’d like.

Horizon went with a cold, metallic palette. Occasional examples of greens and reds appeared – usually via lighting – but the movie mostly stayed with cool tones. The DVD replicated these well and displayed them with more than adequate fullness. Blacks seemed deep and dense, and most shadows were appropriately clear. The main exceptions related to shots of dark-skinned actors; it became tough to discern their faces in many of the movie’s low-light scenes. I thought this was a problem with the original photography and not an issue with the transfer. Overall, this was a pretty positive image.

The audio of Event Horizon seemed good, though it also offered something of a mixed bag. The DVD presented both Dolby Digital 5.1 and DTS 5.1 soundtracks. Other than the usual difference in mastering volumes that made the DTS version louder, these two mixes were very similar. I discerned no other significant changes between them.

I found two main problems with the audio. First, usage of the LFE was erratic. That speaker went silent too much of the time and missed some opportunities for good material. When the track used it, however, it often came across as too strong. Subwoofer response tended to overwhelm the rest of the track on the occasions it came into play.

In addition, I found a surprising amount of distortion for such a recent soundtrack. Some effects crackled and lacked the expected integrity. These instances didn’t occur with frequency, but they created some minor distractions.

Otherwise I found a lot to like from the audio. The soundfield was appropriately active. It created a good sense of the outer space setting and allowed elements to move around the spectrum neatly. The action sequences formed a solid setting and the quieter scenes offered creepy ambience. All five speakers participated actively.

Except for the occasional distortion, audio quality was good. Speech seemed natural and crisp, and I noticed no signs of edginess. Music showed nice range and definition. The score was consistently bright and bold. Despite the distortion, effects usually came across as full-bodied and possessed a good impact. The various flaws knocked this audio down to “B” level, but it still supported the film well.

For this two-disc Special Collector’s Edition, we start with DVD One’s audio commentary. It presents a running, screen-specific chat with director Paul WS Anderson and producer Jeremy Bolt, both of whom sit together. Veterans of the format, they show comfort with commentaries but don’t manage to make this one memorable.

Anderson and Bolt cover how they came onto the project, its rushed production, sets and various effects, influences and inspirations, the cast, cinematography and design, cut scenes and trims, and other general notes. This acts as a decent nuts and bolts examination of the process, and we occasionally find good stories. I especially like Anderson’s discussion of how he worked to meld the very different acting styles of Laurence Fishburne and Sam Neill.

However, I can’t say the commentary leaves a terrific impression overall. It goes slowly at times and doesn’t seem an involving or complete as I’d like. Expect to find a fair primer here but not a terrific chat.

DVD One also includes some Previews at the opening of the disc. We get ads for Aeon Flux, MacGyver, The Warriors and Get Rich or Die Tryin’.

As we move to Disc Two, we begin with The Making of Event Horizon. This five-part documentary fills a whopping one hour, 42 minutes and 55 seconds. It mixes movie shots, images from the shoot, and interviews. We hear from Anderson, Bolt, production designer Joseph Bennett, animated extras chief supervising designer Pauline Fowler, actor Jason Isaacs, Image Animation effects consultant Bob Keen, special effects producer Stuart McAra, special effects supervisor Richard Yuricich, and Orbital’s Phil and Paul Hartnoll.

The show looks at Anderson’s influences and the project’s development. From there it digs into stages, sets and the movie’s look, the qualifications of the crew and their work, and the cast, their performances and their interactions. The program continues with information about various shooting difficulties and technical issues, prosthetics, makeup and visual elements on the set, ship design and creation, and various effects concerns. Finally, the piece goes through edits and studio pressure, the score, and final thoughts about the flick.

Inevitably, a fair amount of material from the commentary repeats here. That said, the documentary acts as a better source of information. It covers the various topics in a more direct, coherent manner and lacks the commentary’s slow spots. In addition, shots from the set and other behind the scenes elements help flesh out our understanding of the production. The presentation occasionally becomes monotonous; the chapter that deals with effects often offers little more than very dull “talking head” shots of McAra and Yuricich. However, things usually work fine and this turns into a very strong documentary.

We get one deleted scene and two extended scenes in the Secrets area. Taken together, these run a total of 10 minutes and three seconds. These include “Deleted Briefing Scene”, “Extended Medical Bay Scene”, and “Extended Burning Man Confrontation”. The last two include no production sound and come only with commentary from Anderson, while his remarks are optional with “Briefing”. He gives us good information about the scenes and the changes made to them. As for the sequences themselves, “Briefing” is the most interesting, though I think it was a smart cut as it ruins some of the tension and surprises.

In “The Unseen Event Horizon”, we split into two areas. The Un-Filmed Rescue Scene gives us a two-minute and 57-second shows storyboards for what would have been our intro to the Lewis and Clark. Anderson discusses it and offers nice background about it. I rather wish they’d filmed it, as I think it’d have made a nice start to things.

When we look at Conceptual Art, we get a three-minute and 52-second montage of images. Accompanied by narration from Anderson, we see drawings and paintings created for a mix of elements used in the film. We get a decent little overview of these stages of the production.

The Point of No Return divides into four featurettes that run a total of eight minutes and 12 seconds. Featuring commentary from Anderson, these show various elements from the set. We look at “The Revolving Corridor”, “The Crew Gathers”, “Shooting Wire Work” and “The Dark Inside”. These let us see various elements of the shoot while Anderson gives us notes about them. All of this works fine, though I’d have preferred optional commentary; I’d like to hear what the participants said on the set.

Finally, the DVD presents two trailers. We find the film’s theatrical clip along with a video promo.

A ridiculously derivative film, Event Horizon comes across as less than the sum of its parts. The movie steals with abandon but fails to tie together the components into a coherent, entertaining whole. The DVD provides generally good picture and audio along with a very positive roster of extras. I can’t complain about this strong release, but the movie itself leaves me cold.

Viewer Film Ratings: 3.5517 Stars Number of Votes: 29
8 3:
View Averages for all rated titles.