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"Pandorum" Blu-ray Review

I've had Pandorum kicking around on DVD since Inception was new in theaters cuz I bought it from a closing Hollywood Video store for a buck. I'd heard it was similar to Event Horizon, but that it wasn't that hot. Needing a 5th title to get the 5/$20 Blu-ray sale at Blockbuster, I bought it again. Since I just watched Event Horizon last week, I figured it would be time to catch up on Pandorum.

It starts off with an interestingly: A giant spaceship is traveling the cosmos when they receive a message from Earth that seems to imply that the planet was about to be destroyed and the people on this ship are the last of the human race. Ben Foster (last seen being creepy in The Mechanic) awakes from his hypersleep chamber in a dark cold room. He doesn't remember who he is or where he is, relying on clues from his uniform for his name. He spots Dennis Quaid asleep in his pod and thaws him out. He's a lieutenant and believes he's part of Foster's flight crew, judging from the tattoo on Foster's arm, and takes command.

They're locked in the room, though, so Foster climbs thru the vents, seeking a way to get Quaid out and find out what's going in. He rapidly discovers things have gone seriously wrong as the ship is dark, grimy, and lousy with bizarre vampire mutant monsters, booby-trapped crewmen, a kick-ass chick (German actress Antje Traue*) with a great rack who doesn't want to play the Basil Exposition role, and other weirdos. What happened to the ship, the Elysium, which they eventually remember was being sent on a 123-year voyage to colonize an Earthlike Eden called Tanis?

Pandorum starts out well with a lot of building tension for the first half-hour. However, as the monsters appear along with survivors who either don't speak English or aren't interested in answering the simple question, "WHAT THE UNHOLY HECK IS GOING ON HERE?!?!?", it starts to get annoying and when it's over and you start to ponder the gaping logic holes of the movie, it really starts to deflate. The explanation for the monsters doesn't make sense, especially when the length of time that's supposed to have transpired; they should've starved.

I wasn't aware before watching, but it was produced by Paul W.S. Anderson and Jeremy Bolt who did...wait for it...Event Horizon. The attention to mood and production design clearly is evident, but they also brought the attitude that slick visuals will paper over the plot holes. Why go through all the trouble of creating a world and not telling a cohesive story in it?

While it ends up a mess, the performances are good - Quaid is turning into Harrison Ford a little - it has style and, for a while, some good tension.

Score: 6/10. Rent it.

* Hello there!


Anonymous said...

Uh, it was a 123 year trip and food was seen during Bower's journey. The food doesn't expire. That's why they didn't starved. Remember scifi.

Dirk Belligerent said...

The food supplies were meant for a voyage where everyone but the skeleton crew were in the freezers, so a century of breeding animal people would've gobbled it all up unless they were breaking into the freezers to nom on colonistsicles.

Thanks for reading Dirkflix! :)

Anonymous said...

Btw, read this explains the film.

Anonymous said...

Oh, just saw your post. They were not animals for centuries though, we don't know how many generations it took for them to get so feral. Plus they killed and fed on each other for sport.

Dirk Belligerent said...

Egad, that's a loooooooooooong bunch of words that are waaaaaaaaay more than the movie merits.

I have a rule of thumb about movies: "You shouldn't have to read the source book before seeing a movie (e.g. Lord of the Rings; Harry Potter) to appreciate it and you sure as hell shouldn't need to read a book afterwards to have it explained to you."

If I need to read someone's blog to have a genre sci-fi/horror movie make sense, then something fundamentally failed in the storytelling. This isn't like the hidden numerology in Scott Pilgrim (which I just learned about tonight!) that is neat, but doesn't break the movie if you miss; this is a big lapse.

I'm also leery of fan speculation interpreting movies too deeply. I've seen a article that claims to reveal how Stanley Kubrick hid his confession of his involvement in faking the Moon landings in The Shining that's really convincing until you remember that it's utterly daft.

Before the Matrix sequels came out, based on The Animatrix, so guy on a forum someplace wrote up a crazily detailed guesstimate of how the sequels would play out. It sounded really good - REALLY good - and turned out to be almost completely wrong. If anything, the Wachowski Bros. should've made this guy's story instead of the messes they did.


Man of Sin said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Man of Sin said...

The drawings on the walls showed that the passengers became cannibals due to the effects of Pandorum. There was food seen in Anjte's character's hideout.

Man of Sin said...

Btw, they were living off nutrition from feeding tubes in open pods in the hunting grounds. There is a deleted scene with Bower doing just that.

Man of Sin said...

And the algae that was all over the ship is edible.

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