Movie Review – Pandorum

Starz/Anchor Bay 2009

Three and Half Star
I remember seeing ads for this movie and I thought it looked interesting. I was planning to see it when it hit the theaters and then it was gone before I got the chance. Later on I ran across it on Netflix and queued it up. I received the movie I was pleasantly surprised.

Pandorum tells the tale of a group of people trying to survive on a huge decaying spaceship called the Elysium. The versatile Ben Foster plays the main character Bower who wakes up out of deep sleep with no memory of who he is, where the ship is headed, or why he’s aboard. He encounters more crew members and a strange and very hostile group of cannibalistic humanoids as he tries to piece together what is going on and where they’re headed. They also have very little time to repair the ships reactor before it blows them all into little itty bits. The title Pandorum refers to a sickness that causes mental illness in those affected.

I found Pandorum to be an intriguing mix of science-fiction and horror. It’s kind of like The Starlost (old reference I know) meets The Descent with some Alien thrown in. It was one of the more entertaining science fiction movies I have seen in awhile. This is not your typical Hollywood Michael Bay pseudo science-action crapulence. The writers manage to put enough of a twist on a mix of some old and new ideas and elements to make it very entertaining. Ben Foster and Dennis Quaid are very good in their roles as are the supporting cast members. The movie is also beautiful to look at with some of the most interesting lighting I have seen in awhile.

Pandorum was overlooked when first released but hopefully will find an audience at home. If you haven’t seen it and you are a fan of the genre(s) I recommend a viewing.

The good:

Pandorum really shines in the production design and lighting. This is one cool looking movie as long as you don’t mind a relatively small palette of colors and like a nice Gothic look to your immense spaceships (which I do).

Good cast. Even though some of the actors are inexperienced they do an excellent job in their roles.

Ben Foster as Bower. Good actor.

Ben Foster wisely hiding like a chicken.

Antje Traue as Nadia. Yes she’s gorgeous.

Martial arts champion Cung Le as Manh.

The savages that hunt the humans are really well done with great makeup effects. I have added them to my list of things I don’t want to encounter in my lifetime.

A face only a really ugly mother could love. Creepy!

The not so good:

It’s kind of funny but the weakest part of this movie in my opinion is the whole Pandorum sickness subplot. I think it was one element too many. I think if it had been cut and the writers concentrated more on the other plot points it would have made for a stronger story. Of course they would have had to change the name of movie.

Got Pandorum?

Random thoughts and observations:

It was planned that Pandorum would be the first movie in a series but unfortunately it did not do well financially so we will probably never see a sequel.

Nice looking planet.

They got there in record time too!

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