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Science Fiction horror has more or less come to a standstill.
Seriously, how many times can you retell a story involving people
getting killed off on a dark foreboding spaceship? Pandorum is not
spared that "unoriginal" stereotype that has plagued so many films in
this genre ever since Ridley Scott's "Alien".
Simply put, Pandorum is "Event Horizon" meets "Resident Evil"(surprise surprise, the producers DID make both those films) by way of "I Am Legend". In deep space, on board the colony vessel Elysium, astronauts Bower and Payton are awoken from hyper-sleep only to be confronted with a dark empty room, signs of struggle, irregular power surges and the mysterious disappearance of the other crew members. Suffering from mild memory loss, Bower volunteers to journey deep into the bowels of the ship and restore power at the main reactor so that they can access the main bridge while Payton guides him over the radio. Along the way, Payton tells Bower of "Pandorum" which is a psychological condition brought about by intense emotional reaction after long periods of suspended animation. Symptoms include hallucinations, paranoia and even homicidal tendencies. No sooner has this been said, Bower gets thrust into a nightmare of claustrophobic vents, hellish cannibalistic creatures and other human survivors who have "gone native". Payton too has to deal with his discovery of a stowaway, Gallo, who may hold the answers to the all that is happening on the ship.
Amniesic protagonist, someone with a hidden past and agenda, kick butt warrior woman, blood thirsty mutants, hell on a spaceship.... all highly familiar to anyone who has at least heard of the science fiction horror sub-genre. Plot holes, erratic pacing and confusing back-story aside, The worst part is that Pandorum had so much wasted potential to address more complex issues of the human psychological nature; perhaps by expanding on the whole "Pandorum syndrome" concept and giving a more ambiguous nature to the horrors faced by the protagonists so that we would not know if they were real or were merely hallucinations brought on by the Pandorum symptoms. There is even a part about one man "having his way" with the other sleeping crew as he succumbs to the loneliness of deep space travel; again a lot of potential for expansion into a parable about human nature but in the end, merely left as a passing anecdote.
Thankfully, the film makes up for its narrative shortcomings thanks to, the director's eye for style and detail. Christian Alvart excels at conveying the same sense of fear and hysteria experienced by Bower through effective cinematography and tight close-up shots. His camera-work never fails highlight the production design of the Elysium's interior which is both spectacular and menacing to behold, as if the ship itself had mutated along with the creatures residing in its bowels. The decision to let the whole mystery be played out slowly as the astronauts try to piece together what transpired on the Elysium works after a while and manages to maintain a chilling air of suspense right up to the big twist.
Both Ben foster and Dennis Quaid who play the two astronauts manage to put on a convincing and multi layered performance with "New Moon"'s Cam Gigandet stealing the show as a man slowly going over the deep end. Such rich characters are a rarity in horror movies nowadays. With so many films falling back on the usual stock one-dimensional ones, this is a refreshing change.
While suspenseful, Pandorum is severely hampered by its lack of actual scares and indecisiveness as to whether it should be a horror show or action movie. Long time sci/fi fans will know what to expect and will most likely be let down, but hopefully this film can entice newcomers to the genre who would then go on to check out some of the better sci/fi horror films. While it is a decent attempt at reinvigorating the waning science fiction horror sub-genre, Pandorum suffocates under the reputation of its predecessors and its derivative elements. Ultimately, like some lost vessel drifting in space, it would disappears into darkness or at least garner a small cult following.
This is a great scifi flick that falls into the awesome genre of "being
stuck on a big space thingy in the middle of nowhere". Other notable
films in the same genre are "Alien" (1979), "Outland" (1981), "Moon"
(2009), Solaris (1972 or 2002) and of course the mack-daddy "2001: A
Space Odyssey" (1968). If you haven't already seen them, you should do
This movie has the same dark, claustrophobic style as "Alien" but with an interesting psychological twist thrown in. The title of the film, "Pandorum", refers to a type of madness that afflicts astronauts under emotional strain, and as you can guess, this makes things pretty interesting ...in addition to the bloodthirsty killers running around the ship eating peoples gallbladders out. Yeah that might catch your attention too.
So there's quite a bit for you to sink your teeth into. If you like straightforward action, there's plenty of that. If you like psychological thrillers, there's a good bit of that, too. And, like a Hitchcock flick, there are just enough unexpected surprises to keep you guessing throughout.
There are also some really interesting social/human themes introduced, such as: What happens to morality when there is no law? What is acceptable behavior when you're fighting to survive? And a very subtle yet poignant theme that the filmmakers touch upon: Is the human race even worth saving to begin with? On many different levels, this movie delivers. I also liked the fact that the special effects (cgi) weren't over the top. Instead, like "Alien", it uses darkness to force us to use our imagination. I think there were a few scenes that used stop-motion effects which really add a disturbing, old-school vibe to it.
If, like me, you're a fan of classic scifi and a bit skeptical of the new stuff, have no fear. You won't be disappointed with "Pandorum".
P.S. for you grasshopper fans, the grasshopper he eats is fake according to the disclaimer at the end of the movie. Pretty convincing though. Almost as good as the grasshopper-eating scene in "Dracula Dead & Loving It" haha. Yeah there are a couple good gross-out moments in this movie, so I wouldn't watch it while eating dinner. Unless your dinner consists of someone's gallbladder...
Normally I don't bother with writing reviews because there's already enough that express the same sentiment I had. And while I think there are already a fair amount of people who share my thoughts on this film I was so pleasantly surprised by how good it was I thought I'd do it the favor of writing a positive review. I won't go into every agonizing narrative detail about the film. I will just say that while it does have some typical sci-fi attributes I would definitely say it proves itself worthy of the viewers attention. First of all the acting was great. Great cast even in the small roles. Ben Foster is excellent again and Dennis Quaid is convincing and surprisingly forceful and manic at times. So that always helps when you can rely on the actors to do things well. The script is actually quite original. It takes some familiar sci-fi components and then mixes them up into a very original take on sci-fi. Some ideas I would say are completely original, so kudos, since sci-fi has to be one of the most rehashed genres out there. That being said great story, I liked how there were two simultaneous story arcs that were both very compelling and had you both wanting to know what happened next or what something meant. Its hard to enough to find one good story people want to follow but two is even better. The creatures were well done as well, believable, scary, and vaguely original. My only small criticism is I felt some moments were strongly borrowed from The Descent. Just little ques here and there, objects, creatures, scenes. These may have been homage to that wonderful film, or perhaps just miscues by the director. Either way by films end I was very happy I'd taken the time out to watch it and will be definitely watching this movie again some time.
OK i went to see this movie very excited and i was not disappointed . It's seriously good with no Hollywood bullshit that you see lately in all American movies... Definitely recommended for anyone who liked alien or played Dead space as there is a lot from it in the movie . There is even a nice twist at the end you don't really expect which add so much to the movie . Dennis Quaid should have more scenes in the movie but in general it was well balanced. Anyone saying this movie is bad has a problem with imagination or doesn't like fantastic movies , then don't post comments nor vote if you went to see it without liking this types of movies. Period. Go and see it it 's worth the big screen... More of this type of movies please .
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Is is just me or did anyone else get the impression that this was two
or maybe more, movies combined into one like some really ugly, hybrid
You have "Pandorum", the mental side effect from long hibernation for an interesting, if dry, sci-fi element, you have mutant cannibals roaming around hunting human victims for that cheap, bloody horror element, etc. It started off so promising, and then it was as if they had to stuff more and more monsters, awful special effects----the stop-action animation was absolutely horrible in some scenes------, and bad dialog, (especially where Dennis Quaid was concerned), that, by the end, I didn't particularly care what happened to anyone. Side note: how many times can one man crash from 15+ foot heights onto steel beams, steel grates, and steel plates and walk away with no injuries?
Pandorum kept me on the edge of my seat, in gut-wrenching fear
throughout. The lead actor, Ben Foster, plays a character who,
likewise, is terrified through most of the film as well. What I love so
much about Pandorum is that Ben's character refuses to be paralyzed
with fear and keeps pushing forward and survives myriad horrific
circumstances despite his fear. I love what he does with the role.
Pandorum is *not* for the faint-hearted. You'll see things that may haunt you for days afterward.
The plot is *solid*. The cinematography and special effects are top-notch. Fight sequences are tight.
The quality of this film cannot be overrated. If you like space movies, thrillers, survivalism, and seeing humans pushed to the limits, I guarantee you will love Pandorum. It's of the same caliber as Alien, Prometheus, and Predator.
Part of the information on Pandorum with IMDb says there are supposed to be sequels but it is doubtful they will be made. I really hope sequels are made.
This movie was awesome. It had many different elements to it. Don't listen to critics and haters, because this movie, as a Sci-Fi/horror film, is better than a lot of others out there. Some of the movies out there in this genre are garbage, but Pandorum is not. If you like space movies with some scary to it, then this movie is for you. It's so good that not having a sequel is very, very, very saddening that I will probably never see a sequel. It just goes to show that the creativeness in this movie is being over looked for some reason, like so many other awesome flicks. Go to Facebook 500,000 to get Pandorum sequel. The plot is so different but great and mind boggling that I kept thinking about it for days after I watched it, and that's how you know it's a really good movie. I just had to watch it over and over. It really spooked me, like really creeped me out the first time. Watch this movie. Period.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
2174. The Earth has become vastly overpopulated and food & water have
become exceedingly scarce. The spaceship Elysium is launched carrying
60,000 passengers and crew; it's destination - a distant Earth-like
planet called Tanis which was discovered 21 years prior. On route to
Tanis, two crew members - Cpl. Bower & Lt. Payton - awaken from
hypersleep, but at first have limited memory on where they are, why
they're there, and where they're headed. Seemingly the only ones on the
ship, and with their memory gradually returning, they soon find out the
ship's nuclear reactor is malfunctioning, so Bower sets off to reset
the system while Payton stays on the Bridge. However, not long after he
sets off, he realises he & Payton are not the only ones on the
ship....and the inhabitants are most definitely not other passengers or
If you love films like Event Horizon, Alien, and Prometheus then you will enjoy Pandorum. It even has a slight Descent feel to it. Pandorum is a very dark, sinister movie which is exactly the way a good Sci-Fi space movie should be. None of this Star Trek crap.
The pace is really good and it's not like an hour of "story & character development" then only 30 minutes of minimum action. It doesn't take long to get going at all and when it does, it doesn't let up very much. I mean there's obviously slower moments, but they are never dull or boring so the story still ticks along nicely even during these periods.
The look & feel of the movie created a really creepy, dark atmosphere, and when the "aliens" are brought into it, the tension rating also goes up. If you're after plenty of gore then move along as you won't find it here, and this is another movie that proves you don't need buckets of blood to enhance the scare factor.
Oh, just a quick note...pay attention to the film as well because if you don't then you probably won't understand the ending. Sci-Fi fan? Watch it. Horror fan? Watch it. In fact, just watch it!
Although I'm usually in alignment with the critics, I thoroughly
disagree with them on this one. I watch A LOT of movies, and really
enjoy sci-fi when it's exceptional. But it HAS to be well made.
If you like "Aliens", zombie apocalypses, "Mad Max", and descents into madness set to a lost-in-space astro-tragedy, you will love this movie. Although it admittedly has an intense and complex plot, it kept me on the edge of my seat throughout. The visuals are stunning and frightening, and the performances from the cast, outstanding. Such an order of filmmaking is difficult to execute competently, but I feel Christian Avart does it justice. I rank it right at the top of the best sci-fi thrillers ever made, with "Prometheus" and the "Aliens" movies, the "Predator" movies, and "World War Z".
While watching, I kept thinking what a good series it would make, both within the existing plot and beyond. Would so love to see a sequel!!
Pandorum follows the story of two astronauts who awaken on a large spaceship with amnesia and no sign of other people and no idea how long they have been in hyper sleep. The story constantly twists and turns, and throughout the movie you slowly unravel the mystery of what is happening. The tone is perfect; it is dark, damp, dirty, wet, slimy, creepy, and feels isolated. The atmosphere is almost like that of the "Doom" or "Dead Space" video games. There is a constant feeling of dread and the film keeps you on the edge of your seat. The pacing is perfect, switching back and forth between sequences of gory monster fights and psychological mystery. Some of the twists are cliché and not unseen before in other movies, but they are presented in a way that is very original. The creatures are scary, but they are not what holds the film together. What holds the film together is the amalgamation of great story telling and cleverly constructed pacing and twists. The climax is very intense and the ending was perfectly fitting. While certain story elements do feel slightly forced, Pandorum is still a terrific thriller that sci-fi fans should check out.
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