WHAT IS IT ALL ABOUT?
Two astronauts (Dennis Quaid and Ben Foster) 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 HUGHES VERDICT
For every Alien there is Critters 4 starring Angela Bassett and for every Event Horizon there is Supernova again starring Angela Bassett which answers the question “How to make a good Sci Fi horror?????? Do not cast Angela Bassett which thankfully the makers of Pandorum had the sense not to, but while this does not quite scrape the barrel of awfulness its still a weak entry in a now well know formula.
Mistakenly called an Alien rip off it was only half way through the film that it dawned on my horror senses that writer Travis Milroy and director Christian Alvart must have sat down after watching a certain recent horror classic and thought “Yeah we should do that……but do it in space!”. The film in question is The Descent and what we have is the “crawlers” leaving their caves and running around the darkness of a spacecraft with a confused Ben Foster and an underused Dennis Quaid having to fight them off.
The year is…well I can not remember…..and Bower (Foster) awakes from suspended animation to no memory aboard a drifting ship. He awakes another sleeping passenger in the shape of Lieutenant Payton (Quaid) and to their horror discover something as gone very wrong on the ship Elysium whose mission it was to reach a planet that mirrors Earth which as become too overpopulated and natural sources are all but gone. Carrying passengers over 60’000, someone or something, is roaming the dark corridors dead bodies litter around each corner and for Bower and Payton, the simple procedure of reactivating the reactor which is situated on the other side of the ship, proves to be a mission really impossible!
For a start Pandorum is not an awful film. It may have been savaged by critics on nearly every review, the films biggest flaw is that it offers nothing new and relies on set-pieces that have been done with better style in greater films. But if you go in expecting nothing then you end up going along with the ride as its ten notchs up from the disasters like the earlier mentioned Supernova. Foster carries the film on his tiny shoulders. Quaid may have his name first on the poster, but he is kept in the shadows, his voice over the radio leaving Foster to be the action star of the piece!
As Bower trawls through the ship, encountering more awake passengers, the film descends into half horror half action piece, none of the two genres actually bringing thrills or scares and as the truth emerges of what actually happened on the ship, Quaid is then thrown into action with many revelations that may shock the newcomer of this style, die hard fans will see it all coming and tut at the nonsense unfolding before their eyes.
As I said, Panadorum is not a very good film, but it passes the time away quite quickly. If you sit and think, the plot flaws are quite startling but this was not made for the thinking audience. It is daft horror that ripples through the plot of race against time and with both Quaid and Foster keeping a straight face through out, its a horror that is worth at least a rental on a wet weekend. Just do not expect fireworks!!!!
OVERALL: Old hat silly nonsense with only the two stars keeping the ship in light speed! Its not good, but its not awful either and should please the easy on the eye horror fans who expect nothing more than cheap thrills and scares. Just think of The Descent in Space!