Pandorum

Now in theaters everywhere is Pandorum, the third film by Christian Alvart, yet the second to hit theaters – a coincidence or maybe something a bit more telling? While Pandorum is far from a bad movie, it’s so incredibly generic that it’s hard to recommend to anyone outside genre fans looking forward to seeing it.

In the film, both Payton (Dennis Quaid) and Bower (Ben Foster) wake up on a ship with no memory as to why they are there. It’s explained that when in hyper sleep for a prolonged period of time, it takes the brains some time to retain some memories. There’s something wrong with the power. Bower figures out he’s the engineer and needs to fix the generator. He heads off to find the generator while Payton stays back to take control. Along the way memories unravel, other survivors are met and creatures emerge. Is it all for nothing, or is there a greater cause hiding at the end of the dark rainbow?

While the entire movie is incredibly cliché, the one thing that really nearly makes this worth checking out is the overall concept and where the finale takes us. I guess you can say it’s a quasi-Planet of the Apes concept, although they don’t end up on their own planet (you’ll have to see it to find out). And while the movie doesn’t do anything all that new, it is quite entertaining for the duration of the film, sans a few pacing issues.

And while Dennis Quaid continues to star in mediocre movies (GI Joe, The Horsmen), it is always nice to see him toplining a new genre pic (I have such great memories). Ben Foster is always underappreciated as he really does carry the weight of the film on his shoulders. Antje Traue is incredibly underused as the strong female lead as she doesn’t enter the picture until halfway through. She’s tough and can kick some ass, but it’s all underplayed to her role as the character that explains what’s going on. During these scenes, the exposition becomes a bit heavy and brings the film to halt, although Alvart gets things moving quickly thereafter.

Even though Pandorum features a concept not all that appealing to the general public, and a cast of pretty much unknowns, the real killer is the way Alvart shot the creatures. First, we see way, way too much of the monsters, which immediately takes away the fear, they pretty much become like creatures in Lord of the Rings. Second, he shoots them in a choppy, unearthly way, because, you know, creatures on a spaceship defy physics and gravity.

Again, Pandorum isn’t all that bad, it just isn’t good either. Fans of films like Event Horizon, Alien 3, and Resident Evil are sure to get their money worth, but I feel anyone outside of the “club” is sure to be disappointed. Watch with caution.

Official Score