Pandorum (Movie Review)

Title: Pandorum
Director: Christian Alvart
Distributor: Overture Films
Starring: Dennis Quaid, Ben Foster, Antje Traue
Excellence: 4 star (out of 5)
Summary in a Sentence: Another pleasant surprise dug up from the depths of box-office failures; a sci-fi horror film featuring two amnesiac astronauts aboard a colony ship where things have gone horribly wrong enroute, and must find a way to survive amidst a dangerous infestation

This month's review is another "diamond in the rough", so to speak -- a film that "tanked" horribly at the box office, grossing only $10 million after a $33 million budget, and panned by the critics (Rotten Tomatoes gives it a meager 27%). Yet despite this I thought it rather well-done and certainly enjoyable. It is a European film, and perhaps that accounts for it's lack of popularity given the slower pace and subtlety not common to American "blockbusters". The I.M.D.B. synopsis is as follows:

Two astronauts awaken in a hyper-sleep chamber aboard a seemingly abandoned spacecraft. It's pitch black, they are disoriented, and the only sound is a low rumble and creak from the belly of the ship. They can't remember anything: Who are they? What is their mission? With Lt. Payton staying behind to guide him via radio transmitter, Cpl. Bower ventures deep into the ship and begins to uncover a terrifying reality. Slowly the spacecraft's shocking, deadly secrets are revealed...and the astronauts find their own survival is more important than they could ever have imagined.
The film had a certain mythological feel to it, since the ship is treated as its own world and given the presence of a god/devil-like figure responsible for the "evils" in that world and the degradation of the humans of the colony ship, somewhat reminiscent of Milton's Paradise Lost. There is perhaps also a parallel to Dante's Divine Comedy in the path that the main characters must travel to defeat the evil in the film.

I found the film suspenseful throughout, and with a great sense of mystery as the viewer tries to figure out what's happened aboard the Elysium along with the two crew members. The acting was perhaps not Oscar-worthy but more than adequate for the type of film, and the special effects satisfying. The plot was surprisingly complex and well-thought out making for a viewing experience that was overall very good. Certainly worth checking-out for any science fiction fans.

Finally, it has one of the greatest quotes I've seen in a film in a good long while. When the main protagonist confronts the "god/devil-like figure", the latter tempts him by offering him a share in his power saying that all that holds him back is his own fear. Our hero responds:  "There will always be law...and you will pay for what you've done."


Anarchy said...

Glad I'm not the only one that noticed the Dante's Inferno parallel. Here is my analysis on the film.


Anarchy said...

Glad I'm not the only one that noticed the parallel here is my analysis.


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