Friday, September 25, 2009

Pandorum Is Hollywood's Answer To My Prayers

Science fiction movies usually tend to have the same recurring theme, a few brave men and women trapped in a scary surrounding, an unknown until now alien species hunting them while they hunt it, and dark recesses of the ship that until required to walk or run through were never shown on camera before. In the latest sci-fi adventure we get something Hollywood seldom gives us, an ending that isn't explained to us as if we were fifth graders. In "Pandorum" They leave it so that we are required to THINK for ourselves and I for one say BRAVO.

Cpl. Bower (Ben Foster) awakens from hyper-sleep he is in a sleeping chamber aboard what appears to be a seemingly abandoned spacecraft. Walking around he discovers Lt. Payton (Dennis Quaid) starting to awaken from his hyper sleep. When Cpl. Bower confronts Lt. Payton they discover that they can't remember anything. They also think that they may be the only surviving members of their crew. As Cpl. Bower investigates the ship he discovers that he and Lt. Payton are not alone, he runs into another survivor, as well as a band of roving mutants. The film starts off with obvious references to Pitch Black, Alien, and Aliens. Once the mutants appear, however, the film shifts into overdrive, and it becomes Resident Evil and The Descent.

The mutants are super-fast and super-strong, they run along the sides of the ship and appear as if out of nowhere. Several times Cpl. Bower narrowly escapes them. Lt. Payton stays behind and repeatedly asks over and over again to Cpl. Bower if he can hear him? Couldn't they afford to pay Dennis Quaid to say anything more? As Bower makes his way further into the belly of the ship, trying to find out if his family is still alive and to get to the reactor to turn it back on, he discovers some other survivors. Nadia (Antje Traue) who attacks Bower several times, thinking he may be a mutant, why she would think this is beyond me, Bower doesn't shriek, he doesn't run fast and he isn't strong like the other mutants, plus he LOOKS human. Bower is saved by Manh (Cung Le) who is very adept with a blade. The three make their way towards the sleeping bay only to discover that the mutants have been using the bay as their very own hunting grounds, as the humans awaken from their sleep and are disoriented the mutants attack and eat them.

The three escape and run into another survivor, Leland (Eddie Rouse) who has been eating other humans who mistakenly enter his chambers. The group once they convince Leland he would be better off releasing the three so they can turn the generator back on, make their way to the generator room only to discover that the mutants are using it to sleep in. Lt. Payton has had his hands full as well all this time he has discovered another survivor himself, Gallo (Cam Gigandet) who with the hidden twist turns out to be someone who has been on board the ship for a very long time.

The movie has its flaws as well, we really never get a definitive answer to what the mutants are or even where they come from, we get the scary sound effects the hunt and the kill, but what they are we never fully get to know. We don't get the huge epic fight between the mutant leader and Cpl. Bower, he is dispatched by Manh in a battle to the death. The mutants attack and corner the few remaining survivors and pick them off one by one, the child mutant is cute, right up until he slices you up and smiles while he is doing it.

I give Pandorum a 3 and on my avoidance scale a 0, 2009 has been a surprisingly good year for sci-fi thus far (Star Trek, Moon, District 9) and sitting through this one won't distract from that at all. In terms of horror, Pandorum should be a breath or fresh air for those who've endured films like Halloween II, The Final Destination, Sorority Row or even earlier movies like The Unborn and The Uninvited.

Pandorum is rated R for Strong Horror Violence and Language
Running time is 1 hr. 48 mins.

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