A title that I heard this movie say about 30 times throughout the whole film.
Upon rousing themselves from hyper-sleep, Payton (Dennis Quaid) and Bower (Ben Foster), a pair of crewmen assigned to work on a spacecraft, discover startling gaps in their collective memory — including who they are and what, exactly, their mission was in the first place. The plot thickens when they realize they’re not the only ones on board the ship.
I was very surprised by this film because I rarely remember when it first came out, and the posters did nothing to help me get ready what to expect either. Thankfully, I had a good surprise with this film.
Space-horror films are always the best because they really get that type of claustrophobic feeling in and director Christian Alvart brings that here very well. I always felt like there was no way out for these characters, and that they were always in danger almost every single turn they took. Alvart’s story he creates here is something that starts off very mysterious and weird, but then turns into this action and tension-filled horror flick that kept me wondering what was going to happen next.
I like how this film had a whole bunch of confusion that lead me to wonder why all of these things were happening, and how they all happened. These questions are left open for a good majority of the film and the way Alvart leaves it like this is a very brave thing to do considering that most of this would be very hard for most viewers to just stick with, especially if they don’t understand just what the hell is going on.
The only problem with Alvart’s story here is that there are an increasingly large bunch of plot holes that come with this film and its story, which are hard to ignore really. I didn’t understand as to why if these characters knew they were going to lose their memories once they got shipped away in their pods, they didn’t just leave a couple of little sticky-notes to have themselves be reminded of certain information that would seem very important for when they finally “woke up”.
Another thing I didn’t understand was why these ships would just leave one little button for somebody just to press and mess every little thing up. The first crew of the ship in this film go crazy, and one person actually presses the button to destroy the ship after he goes incredibly nuts, or suffers as they say, “Pandorum”. Plenty of submarines have this button, but it’s really, really hard to get to but why in the hell would they just leave that button for someone to easily press for something a whole lot bigger, and something that is apparently being used for a very important mission. Hell, a mission that is apparently going to impact the rest of mankind. There are more plot holes to be found but these were the two that bothered me the most of all.
I was able to get past these plot holes though because not only of Alvart’s story and the way he tells it, but with its very detailed and artistic direction he gave it. A lot of sci-fi films keep their spaceships usually gritty and disgusting to look at, but the way this spaceship looks is actually very convincing and what a spaceship may actually look like if it were going to be around in today’s world. The sets are real and the way all of the colors, some dark and some bright, actually blend in so well with the moody atmosphere this film was given.
Even though there is some really good-looking CG used in this film, I still couldn’t help but get bothered by the CG that was used on these monsters, or creatures, or whatever the hell you want to call them. These damn things are here just for the sake of being terribly gratuitous and disgusting, and look less lie actual creatures and more like lizards stuck through a condom. Yes, I did just say lizards stuck through a condom but once you see this film, you’ll know what I mean. Lesson learned here is that making your monsters completely and utterly disgusting, doesn’t make them anymore scary.
The cast here is very small but all do pretty well with what they are all given. Dennis Quaid gets top-billing for this film and is pretty good even though at the beginning, his character is just limited to staying in the control-room but soon gets more and more involved and that’s when we see Quaid’s chops really come out. The real star for this film is actually Ben Foster playing Bower, a guy who does everything in his will-power to find out just what the hell is going and does whatever he can to get out of this place safe. This guy can really make you believe in him and seem like he’s always one step-ahead of all of the baddies in this film, which is what Foster really can do well with any film he is in. Cam Gigandet was really annoying and bad as this other dude that comes later in the film, but he’s only here for a small bit. I still don’t know what so many people see in this little shit.
Consensus:Pandorum has its fair share of flaws and plot-holes that may bother some, but the story is mysterious and tense enough to keep any sci-fi die-hard watching, and wondering just what is going to happen next.