September 27, 2009


Yesterday I watched Pandorum, which looked to be a sci-fi horror film in the vein of Alien.

The film opens with a human colonial journey to a new planet as Earth gets overpopulated. The flight crew receives Earth's last transmission...then our hero wakes up from suspended animation, unable to remember who he is, where he is or what the ship's mission is.

The setup is great, but the film tries to be too tricky with the audience, forcing the viewer to play a guessing game as to what's real and what's just in a character's head. It doesn't help that some pieces of the movie are shot in what looks like test footage, grainy underproduced shots, which made me wonder if they were done intentionally (in retrospect, I don't think so).

For what should have been a great science fiction film, or at least a decent movie with a good story, what we get is an OK film with a confusing story. At the beginning of the final act everything that's wrong with the ship is finally explained, but even that is in a disjointed fashion (the scene jumps between two characters having a heated argument and another character giving a clear explaination in english that's a challenge to understand).

Even after this, as the film builds toward climax and resolution, it still gets muddled in characters having episodes of 'pandorum'. This is a side effect of extended hybernation concocted for this film, which includes tremors and hallucinations. But instead of being used as an interesting plot device, episodes of pandorum get in the way of the story moving forward.

In the end, when the hero's survival came into question, I honestly didn't care if he survived or not...either ending would have worked for this film. The worst reaction I had was, after everything was cleared up, I had a moment where I thought to myself 'Oh, is that all that was going on?"


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