Best Buy lured me into today’s film with a sub ten dollar price tag for the Blu-ray edition. Basically, I will buy any Blu-ray under ten bucks and nothing over it. Meaning my collection mostly consists of movies no one in their right mind should watch. So, when an opportunity to get a legit (Read: Non Asylum flick) for cheap presented itself, I was all over it like a rat on a Cheeto.
Pandorum spins the tale of a couple of space flight crew members (Ben Foster, Dennis Quaid) who wake up with no clue to what the hell is going on in their ship. Through the process of discovery a whole bunch of stuff is learned, some of it interesting, some stupid. The interesting stuff involves the story of how they came to be in their current predicament, the not-so interesting stuff lies in pseudo-human mutant characters that have seized control of the spaceship.
The movie opens with Ben Foster waking up and then escaping his cryogenic sleep chamber. He’s covered in slime and basically looks like a rotted penis (which is how he always looks according to my friend Susan). After regaining his senses, he wakes up his commanding officer, who looks a lot like a guy that would be too famous to be in this film, unless his character was shrouded by mystery. Turns out, I was right.
Eventually, Foster meets up with a hot chick, because even in space there are hot chicks running around, and some other back-ups (Read: Expendable peeps). Their mission is to reset the nuclear reactor before it blows up and kills everyone on board. An easy task except for one problem: The sequel to the next Mad Max film was shooting at the same time. Yes, curiously there are a bunch of monster looking creatures running around wearing tin foil and spiked shoulder armor. Are they scary? Yes, and they seem to think the group of people trying to fix the reactor are lunch. This leads to a bunch of tense battles where the good guys almost die, but don’t. The real question is: Why are the baddies wearing shoulder armor? Only Mel Gibson knows.
Pandorum is actually a medical illness that causes people to go crazy in space. Kinda like Cabin Fever, but not as gory or Eli Rothy. A large portion of the plot is spent on trying to figure out exactly who is actually mad with the disease and what repercussions might come because of it. In this way the movie is much more cerebral and character driven than a lot of sci-fi horror. As we should all know by now, sometime the worst monsters are the ones inside us. Queue the ominous music.
What the movie does have going for it is a claustrophobic vibe and interesting psychological back story. It’s compelling and is something that as a viewer I wanted to see through. The story unfurls slowly and only in the final moments do we get to put it all together. Director Christian Avart does a fine job of weaving the complex themes together in a way that creates edge of your seat nervous viewing.
And that’s not all bad, heck, Pandorum just might make you think twice about signing up to fly across the galaxy to start a new Earth. It did for me.
Snore Factor: ZZ (It will certainly keep you up)