Isolationism, claustrophobia and delirium are motherfuckers — especially when they’re mixed together with the darkness of space. Pandorum is word roughly devised to describe this scenario and director Christian Alvart hopes his movie of the same name can scare the shit out of you because of it. It can’t.
Not for any reason other than the fact that Pandorum may be in the top ten of the most uneventful and slow-moving nonscary scary movies ever made. It’s not like he didn’t try though . . .
Alvart makes the case for claustrophobia as half the movie is filmed within tight corridors and air ducts encapsulated with hundreds of rubber conduit. Why these ducts are jammed packed with all this pliable tubing is anyone’s guess (you’d think that so far into the future other means to transport heat and whatnot would have been discovered). The case for isolation is there too — Lt. Payton (Dennis Quaid) and Cpl. Bower (Ben Foster) find themselves alone and thoroughly disoriented when they’re awaken from their eight year slumber aboard the now empty 60,000+ person spacecraft known as the Elysian. All they know is they’ve got to get to the ship’s reactor before all life support shuts down. If they only knew how to get there . . .
Thrown into the mix for good measure are some sort of humanoid albino creatures that enjoy feasting on any of the unlucky sonsabitches that find themselves thawed out of their deep space sleeps. They aren’t exactly keen on letting our heroes have safe passage to their goal either. The freakishly frightening H.R. Giger creations from Alien were apparently all used up, so these nasties have themselves black battle armor adorned with bone spikes instead. But now that I think about it, they bear a resemblance to the munchers in The Descent of which Pandorum tries to take a cue or three from.
The use of Quaid as the stalwart leader is questionable at best, as he does little more than monotonously and uninspiredly read his lines from the safety of a control room. For what Alvart got, he may as well had paid him just for his voice talents as the ship’s computer. During the adventure there is of course a few allies for Bower to align himself with — and wouldn’t you know it — Nadia (Antje Traue), who I suspect is some sort of geneticist, is stacked and beautiful (even when covered head to toe with filth) and Manh (Cung Lee) is a martial arts expert adept at kicking monster ass. Oh the coincidence as they are precisely what Bower needs to complete his mission!
Oh yeah, the payoff at the end, well let’s just say it may be the most clichéd in movie history. Travis Milloy, it’s time to practice those writing skills some more.
So how should I end my movie review of this dismal film? By leeching a sentence from the beginning of my review of course!: Pandorum may be in the top ten of the most uneventful and slow-moving nonscary scary movies ever made. Scratch that — it may actually reside comfortably in the top five.