"A pair of crew members aboard a spaceship wake up with no knowledge of their mission or their identities."
20 October 2011
||Rating: out of 5|
Set in the future where a new planet similar to Earth called Tanis has been found. Which is jolly well helpful since Earth has become a bit crowded. So a space mission is launched transporting several people to Tanis. Corporal Ben Foster awakens from a cryosleep (shades of the “Alien” Quadrilogy), with his memory a bit foggy. Lieutenant Dennis Quaid soon joins him in a similarly confused state. Whilst Quaid stays in the control room monitoring things, Foster decides to explore the massive ship and happens upon two more people (Antje Traue and Cung Le, the latter not speaking any English), whilst Quaid is soon joined by the awakened Cam Gigandet. Foster’s new companions prove a rather gun-happy pair, but that may be for a reason. Foster soon finds more inhabitants on board...of the noseless flesh-eating mutant variety (Think Lord Voldermort crossed with a stingray). Meanwhile, Gigandet has a horrifying tale to tell Quaid. It seems that some of the people on the ship are suffering from a mental condition called Pandorum. Accentuated by cryosleep, it causes paranoia and hallucinations among the humans.
Can we call this one “Planet of the Stingrays”, perhaps? No, that makes it sound somewhat interesting and fun. This US-German co-production from director Christian Alvart is yet another boring, slow-moving space/horror saga involving humans awakening from a cryogenic sleep to be hunted down by alien creatures. Do we really need any more of these? Apparently producer Paul W.S. Anderson (“Event Horizon”, “Resident Evil”, “Mortal Kombat”) believed so, but audiences seemingly begged to differ, as the film flopped at the box-office. I knew Anderson’s name had to appear somewhere in the credits here as the film played like a mixture of “Even Horizon” and “30 Days of Night”, with a little “Resident Evil” thrown in for not-so good measure. The plot recycles every space/horror flick cliché you can think of and the characters aren’t remotely appealing. A desperate lack of tension, suspense, or even any interest at all ensues. Terribly inarticulate dialogue too, mostly consisting of unnecessary profanity that for me didn’t seem to fit at least some of these characters.
Aside from the filtered yet attractive cinematography and lighting by Wedigo Von Schulzendorff, the creatures are the only worthwhile thing in the whole film. They’re nothing special, but they’re nasty and a whole lot more interesting than the humans. The talented Ben Foster tries his best not to look bored or embarrassed under futile circumstances, he’s too good to appear in this dreck. The rest of the cast are not used to their best advantage, especially a miscast Quaid and a wasted Reedus as another survivor in what amounts to barely a cameo. I feel particularly bad for Quaid, who has had a really bad run of it lately (“Horsemen”, “G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra”). You know your career is in a rut when one of your best films in the last five years is the uneven “Legion”.
Cam Gigandet, meanwhile, is the single worst actor going around now as far as I’m concerned. It appears as though everything he has learned about acting has been picked up by watching Mark Wahlberg’s performance in “Fear”. The guy glowers menacingly. That’s his entire repertoire right there. Then again, the film itself is monotonous, with way too many scenes of characters lurking about dark corridors. Maybe if more was done with the temporary amnesia idea the film might’ve had more to offer, but this is pretty dire.
Clichéd, monotonous, and dull, and aside from the creatures, there’s nothing to see here folks. A mind-numbingly slow-moving waste of time.
01 December 2009
||Rating: out of 5|
Pandorum is a new horror / sci fi film produced by
Paul W. Anderson and Constantin Films. Same group that brought us other
horror movies like the Resident Evil series, Skin Walkers, and Wrong
Turn. The movie is set far into the future with a couple of crew members
on a space transport ship that awaken from their hyper sleep a little
confused. Bower (Ben Foster) is the first to wake up. He remembers very
little, and at first thinks he is all alone. Then Payton (Dennis Quaid)
awakens from his hyper sleep. Together they are trying to put together
anything that will help them figure out where they are and whats going
on. Things don't start off easy for them especially when the main power
is down throughout most of the ship.
With Payton working the computers, Bower sets off to
try and restore power to the rest of the ship. He soon finds out that
they aren't the only two out walking around. And confirms it when he
encounters a corpse hanging from the ceiling, as result of a very lethal
trap. I don't know about anyone else. If I came up to a corpse crudely
hanging from the ceiling, and then hear some inhuman scream further
down. My ass is NOT going to be investigating. But, it wouldn't be fun
for us then would it? Because the source of the scream is not pretty.
But, it makes up for being ugly by being very fast, very strong, and
very hungry. And, it didn't come alone either.
Not too far into the movie Bower and Payton put
together more memories and the purpose of their mission. The Earth's
resources have been soaked up and they are the flight crew taking 16,000
passengers to their new home. A new Earth-like planet called Tanis.
Bower encounters others fighting to stay alive. Manh (Cung Le), the
foreign badass who can't speak a word of English, very useful to have
around though since he is very handy with his makeshift blades. Nadia
(Antje Traue) plays the sexy female lead who, for the ships scientist,
is no stranger to kicking butt. When they all meet up with Leland, they
get more questions than answers. How long have they been in hyper sleep?
What are those things hunting them? And, how are they all going to
Pandorum plays out well with very few slow spots. It
does take a little while to get a feel for everything that's going on in
the movie though. At first I was thinking its got a good amount of plot
holes. But, a little flashback here and there. And through the
characters of the movie, it starts to straighten out. I liked how this
was done. It bordered on predictable, however, every time I thought I've
seen this before I was proven wrong. I am surprised that the $40 million
budget didn't get put to better use though. I don't know what they used
it all on. The special effects where pretty good. And, I really don't
think that any of these actors require a huge salary. It just seems kind
of high for a non theatrical release. I guess I don't make them though.
I just watch them.
Pandorum is a great ride. Its almost like a combination Ghosts of Mars
and Paul Anderson's other sci-fi / horror, Event Horizon. It was nice to
see some good character background, making a solid story instead of a
brainless gore fest. Which I think we see too much of already. The story
unfolded well with twists, turns, and it keeps you wondering what the
hell is going on. I hate movies that I can sit down and watch 20 mins
into, and know what's going to happen in the end. Pandorum doesn't disappoint.