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Deceptively Good, "Pandorum" Brings the Scifi-Horror Genre Back in a Big Way!

  • Feb 10, 2010
  • by
Rating:
+4
At first glance, Pandorum looks just like the mediocre sci-fi horror films that have hit theaters over the past few years.  With a lackluster trailer and a not so great marketing campaign, it was shocking when I found myself actually enjoying the film.  From the minute the main titles rolled, Pandorum brought me back to 1997's Event Horizon, a film that will forever in my opinion be the scariest movie of all time.  With dark, broody, almost steampunk like sets, I was geared up to be scared out of mind for the entirety of this movie.  But the writers of Pandorum and director Christian Alvart made sure there was a good balance of horror, sci-fi and story, making it less of a frightening film than Event Horizon, but more enjoyable overall.  Pandorum's biggest strong suite throughout the film is that it's suspenseful all the way through, leaving you at the edge of your seat for the whole duration of the movie.

When two astronauts awaken in their hibernation pods with no recollection of who are where they are.  With their memories slowly returning, Lt. Payton (Dennis Quaid) and Cpl. Bower (Ben Foster) realize that they are on a mission to save humanity by transporting 60,000 passengers to a new planet called Tanis, after Earth started suffering from over population and natural resource depletion.  But there is a problem, the ship's nuclear reactor is failing and only Bower can fix it.  With radio help from Payton, Bower navigates his way through the ship, but comes across a brutal and cannibalistic humanoid species who live for the hunt.  With time preciously running out, Bower will have to muster all the strength he has to get to the reactor, while finding out terrifying secrets about what really happened to the crew...something Lt. Payton knows more about than he's leading on...

Pandorum was a great film for the sheer fact that it wasn't just another mindless scifi-horror film, the writing staff really made sure that the film made you think.  What is going to happen when the world becomes overpopulated?  What's going to happen when we use up all of our natural resources?  Those are both very real questions and Pandorum addresses them in a science fiction manner sure, but the idea is not to far fetched.  Take away the cannibalistic warrior folk trying to eat people on the ship and you almost have a glimpse at what future space travel may look like.  Like Avatar, it's not going to be in pretty sleek Federation starships; it's going to be ugly and it's going to be dark.  Sure the beasties chasing after Bower and his two companions gives you a startle, but the real fear from this movie comes from the lasting effect it has on you after it's over.

 Quite surprisingly, Pandorum also had some good acting.  While Dennis Quaid got top bill for this film, Ben Foster was the real star of the movie.  It was interesting to see how his character Bower developed as his memory slowly came back.  There was definitely this strong side to him that was all about following protocol and then as the memories of his girlfriend who didn't join him on the flight came back, this sentimental side emerged.  It was great writing on top of even better directing.  The one major problem with the acting/actors in this movie was Cam Gigandet as Gallo.  Without giving to much away, he has a very important connection to one of the people on the ship and it was just a really bad casting choice.  It wasn't because his acting was bad, but it was the right look and feel.

Unfortunately, Pandorum didn't do well at the box office, and while the film was setup to start a franchise, that likely won't happen.  If anything, Pandorum will become a cult classic, similar to what happened with Event Horizon.  This is truly a shame because Pandorum was quite a good film and deserved a little bit more positive reviews than it got.  it's obviously not the best movie ever made or even in the upper echelon of film making, but it doesn't deserve to just fade away which most likely, it probably will like so many other films of this genre.  I urge you to see this film if you are a fan of sci-fi horror films.  It is now available on Blu-ray and DVD on Amazon.com.  4/5!
Deceptively Good,

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February 10, 2010
I need to re-watch this. I wasn't impressed by it that much when I saw it in theaters (but maybe I was just tired) I did like EVENT HORIZON. Nice review!
 
February 10, 2010
Cool, thanks. I was not impressed with the trailer, but this looks worth seeing. Sometimes I rent these things on Amazon through their "unbox" video on demand.
 
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More Pandorum (2009 movie) reviews
review by . September 27, 2009
posted in Movie Hype
poster
      Since the inception of “Alien”, there have been many attempts at a cross-blending in genres of science fiction and horror. I guess there is just nothing scarier than being stuck in space with no place to run to. “PANDORUM” is a collaboration between American and German filmmakers to make a sci-fi horror film. Directed/co-written by Christian Alvart (Anti-Bodies) with screenplay by Travis Milloy, the film is full of slick European claustrophobic atmosphere …
review by . August 07, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
There's nothing terribly new in PANDORUM. It's 150 years in the future, and the earth is dangerously overpopulated, and have sent a gigantic spacecraft into space with 16,000 people in suspended animation, with the idea of reaching a new planet that looks suitable for human life and saving the human race. But things haven't gone exactly right...a disease that causes madness (the titular Pandorum) has ravaged much of the crew and many of the people on the ship have evolved into super-tough but super-ugly …
review by . September 25, 2009
Ok, let me start by saying that I actually enjoyed Pandorum as a movie.  It was tense, fast paced, and had a plot that really could hook people.  Despite what I am about to say, it's probably one of the better sci-fi/horror hybrids out there.  Given that the options for this odd genre are limited to such movies as Event Horizon, I can't help but imagine that is much of a compliment.      So this movie does a lot.  By a lot, I mean that it's genuinely …
review by . September 30, 2009
   of money, time and talented actors. A movie made w/o lights. CG that looked like a videoi game. Quick cut action so you couldn't see or tell what was happening. Stay home.
About the reviewer
Julian Brown ()
Hi, my name is Julian Brown. I currently write for The Brotherly Game, a local Philadelphia soccer website where I cover the US Women's National Team and the local WPS Philadelphia Independence. I … more
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Wiki

Poster art for "Pandorum."

Pandorum is a 2009 science fiction horror film written by Travis Milloy and directed by Christian Alvart. The film stars Dennis Quaid and Ben Foster. Filming began in Berlin in August 2008. Pandorum was released on September 25, 2009 in the United States, and on October 2, 2009 in the UK.

An astronaut, Corporal Bower (Ben Foster), wakes up from suspended hibernation to find himself alone, with no memory of who he is, what he is doing, or what happened to the crew of the 60,000 passenger sleeper ship, Elysium. He proceeds to wake up Lieutenant Payton (Dennis Quaid), who is also suffering from memory loss. They are unable to access the ship's bridge and cannot communicate with any other members of the crew, including the flight crew team who they are supposed to relieve.

While exploring the spacecraft under Payton's radio guidance, Bower talks with Payton about Pandorum, a psychological condition brought on by extended periods of deep-space travel and hyper-sleep. Its symptoms and effects include severe paranoia, vivid hallucinations, and homicidal tendencies. Payton tells of another ship in which a single flight crew member, affected by Pandorum, jettisoned every crew member into space, killing five thousand.

As Bower continues on, he encounters dead bodies and fast-moving humanoid creatures. Escaping from one of them, he then encounters other human survivors, Manh (Cung Le) and Nadia (Antje Traue); they work together to reach the ship's nuclear reactor. Bower...

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Details

Director: Christian Alvart
Genre: Thriller
Release Date: 25 September 2009 (USA)
MPAA Rating: R
Screen Writer: Travis Milloy
DVD Release Date: January 19, 2010
Runtime: 108 minutes
Studio: Starz / Anchor Bay
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