Movie review: Pandorum


(UPDATE 1/25: Seriously, where are all you people coming from? This is a piddly little site, yet this story has generated nearly 2,000 views. Please tell me in the comments how you got here! This has been a great mystery to me. Thanks.)

Given the fact that the world’s space endeavors have been successful 99% of the time, it remains a mystery why filmmakers are so compelled by the subject of “space madness,” for lack of a better term.

From “Solaris” to “Supernova,” “Sunshine” to “Event Horizon,” space madness has been the driving force for an absurdly high number of science fiction films. None of these movies ever do well at the box office, yet people keep coming back to the concept.

The latest example is “Pandorum,” and it fits the template of a space madness movie to a tee, although mixed with a touch of “Predator” for good measure. Dark, dreary surroundings? Check. Limited cast? Check. Wonky explanation for said madness? Check. Box office dud? Check. 

But as I’ve written before, I’m a mark for anything starring Dennis Quaid, so I found one of the remaining theatres still showing this (thanks, janky Oak Tree 6!) and settled in, for I’m one of the few people who like space madness flicks.

The story begins with the standard sci-fi text prologue explaining that the Earth’s resources are in peril and that a new planet has been found for our use. A ship carrying the basics to populate the planet, the Elysian, is sent off to investigate, only to receive a mysterious message from Earth.

Flash forward to some undetermined time later, and Cpl. Bower (Ben Foster, actually in a normal role for once) awakens from one of those nifty space pods covered in extra skin and with no idea who he is, where he is or why he’s there.

He’s joined a few hours later by Lt. Payton (Quaid), another flight crew member who is struggling to remember his purpose on the rundown ship.

Together they try and figure out what happened, where everyone is, and why there are mutated creatures running among the few scattered survivors. Bower teams up with a busty scientist and a foreign ass-kicker to fight the beasts on the outside, while Payton runs into another survivor (Cam Gigandet) while searching the deck in which he is trapped.

Both our characters deal with the spectre of pandorum, a space-borne psychosis that seems to be the cause of the Elysian’s current situation – the full details of which are spelled out in a hastily composed third act.

There are some good ideas here, but it doesn’t all quite come together. The first 30 minutes of the movie are essentially scenes of Quaid and Foster saying “Do you copy?” over and over again, the fight scenes are so quickly edited it’s nearly impossible to see what’s going on and the ending doesn’t exactly set the world on fire, but I’ve got a soft spot for these kinds of flicks, so I can say I enjoyed it.

It’s nice to see Foster play something other than a psycho, and of course Quaid comes through with his steady presence, albeit in an undercooked role.

If I had a choice, I’d probably watch “Event Horizon” again, but this would likely do in a pinch.

~ by Elliott on October 8, 2009.

One Response to “Movie review: Pandorum”

  1. Your article appears in reviews section on imdb site for this movie 🙂 Nice blogname, by the way

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