Tuesday, December 8, 2009


Pandorum - Dir. Christian Alvart (2009)

The cheesy critic in me is tempted to simply write, “Pandorum? More like Pan-Bore-Em,” and leave it at that. Pandorum was produced by Paul W.S. Anderson so I think it’s obvious to say this won’t be an existential examination of space travel as seen in 2001, Sunshine, or Solaris.

Pandorum opens sometime in the future as Corporal Bower (Ben Foster) and Lt. Payton (Dennis Quaid) awaken from suspended animation aboard a spaceship. Both men suffer from amnesia, a side effect of hyper-sleep, and have no idea who they are, where they are, or what their mission is. The ship is also suffering from power failure and they cannot raise the current crew on duty. As Bower explores the vessel, he discovers the ship has been infested by feral aliens who have been feeding on the other crew members.

As with Anderson’s Resident Evil movies, Pandorum features an ass-kicking female character with a funny accent. This time, it is German-born actress Antje Traue as Nadia, a genetics researcher charged with cataloguing the species preserved on the ship. I’m not exactly sure how a biologist knows martial arts and Parkour, but it’s one of the film’s least silly conceits.

Pandorum blatantly rips off several sci-fi and horror films like Alien, Dawn of the Dead, and even Anderson’s own Event Horizon. The creatures bare a resemblance to those in Neil Marshall’s The Descent, clad in the leather fetish outfits of The Road Warrior. Christian Alvart directs the film with the same crappy techniques that plague the majority of action films today. Pandorum is filled with shaky camera sequences and extreme close-ups edited together in a rapid, slipshod manner making it almost impossible to make out what’s going on.

Rating: *

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