In a summer filled largely with mediocre movies, I’ve discovered that the fall is when the best movies start to come out. And in a further twist, I am now seeing a pattern in recent Hollywood flicks where the sinful nature of humans is acknowledged and even used as part of a central theme!
Pandorum is a futuristic horror movie about a small group of people who wake up in a deep space vessel on an unknown mission. Due to prolonged hyper-sleep, the memory of the two main characters is damaged and recovers only as the plot progresses. It may sound like a cheap writer’s tool, but it works to great effect in this movie.
The ship is dark and running on almost no power, and humanoid monsters are hunting humans for food throughout the ship. As the crew scrambles to survive and make sense of what is happening, the mysterious plot unfolds.
The strength of this film for most of the ride is what it doesn’t tell you. Enough details are given to avoid frustration and disconnecting from the story, but you’re grasping at straws for most of movie.
The visual look is a cross between Alien and Event Horizon. Not surprising given that Paul Anderson (Event Horizon director) produced this film.
Ben Foster and Dennis Quaid both turn in engaging performances. Quaid grounds the film well with his presence and Foster gives the audience a window through which to empathize.
Special effects are mostly practical and creature-related and do a fine job. In fact, the lack of too much CGI keeps this movie feeling gritty and real. Darkness is also used to great effect, following the same philosophy as the script: “Don’t give away too much.”
Near the end of the film, we are faced with the nature of humanity. When left unchecked, our default passions and desires are selfish and evil, and this film doesn’t shy away from it. In fact, it even subtly recognizes the evil that will naturally result as the outcome of applying evolutionary philosophy. When “survival of the fittest” is the highest good, well… use your imagination, or just go see Pandorum.
Rated R for strong horror violence and language