154 of 165 people found the following review helpful
on September 25, 2009
The year is 2174. The population of Earth has reached over 24 billion. Famine and wars are commonplace. In a last ditch effort to save humankind, we send out a probe to find a planet that can sustain us. The mission is a success, though it will take over a hundred years to reach the new home...
Two men wake up from deep sleep; alone, disoriented and suffering from memory loss. As their recollections slowly return, they realize they are part of the space ship crew navigating 60,000 settlers from Earth to the new planet. They have questions, but few answers. Where is everyone? How long have they been asleep? Why are they awake? Who's on bridge, flying the machine? And finally, once they discover they are NOT alone: what are those things, and where did they come from?!
Butterflies in my stomach? Check. Nails (my own ;o)) digging into my arm? Check. Conversing with friends about the movie long after the end? Check. All are side effects of a well made scary thriller (the sci-fi was just a bonus) and all were present in this case. The story has a great twist, but, best of all, it is largely plot-hole-free, as well as plausible.
So, why four, rather then five stars? Two reasons. Firstly, once answers start coming, they come fast and furious, to the point of being a tad confusing. Secondly, the two main characters are a bit lacking. Until the climactic end, Dennis Quaid spends most of the film saying "Bower, are you there...are you there, Bower?" He is a good actor but the script does not give him much to work with, leaving his talent underused. Ben Foster (the Angel from X-Men the Last Stand), disserves the top billing, as the action revolves mainly around him. Still, a more charismatic actor may have drawn us further into the character. There is a nice appearance from Cung Le, a Vietnamese-American real life martial arts champion (you may remember him from Fighting). He is a talkative passanger with all the answers, but, to Bower's frustration, no English. The man can move, but his awesome skills are not fully utilized here either. Shame...
This is not another Alien or Predator. It will not change the direction of film evolution. Still, Pandorum satisfactorily delivers scary, creepy sci-fi with a well put together story and a hopeful ending (I miss those!). It entertains!
58 of 61 people found the following review helpful
on January 28, 2010
So many people these days want to do movie comparisons with just about every new title that's released...here is another one getting that same treatment. These are the movies I have seen this one compared to: "Alien," "Solaris," "Event Horizon," and "2001: A Space Odyssey." This flagrant need to compare movies is largely due, in my opinion, to Hollywood's decade long quandary with not being able to come up with much new material...everything has already been done...and everyone has been conditioned to not expect anything new from that corner of the planet. Well, I'm not buyin' it! Books pour out of author's imaginations and onto the shelves of our local bookstores on a daily basis, and they are ALL different from the next. If book writers can do it, then I'm sure movie writers can do it as well. And this movie is no exception. It has plenty of newness to it. As a matter of fact, once you get through the creepy and atmospheric body of "Pandorum," which takes place on a spaceship meant to transport everything needed to start anew on another planet much like Earth, and finally reach the climactic ending, the breath of fresh air is resultant of a movie that never let on where it was going, reveals a story that has never been told (even remotely), and leaves the watcher with good feelings in their hearts...feelings of hope and reverie. The acting is superb by all in attendance, although, I believe Ben Foster should have gotten top billing, not Dennis Quaid. The vast majority of the time spent here is centered around Ben's character, whereas, Dennis' character doesn't do much more than try to stay connected with him from another part of the ship. All in all, "Pandorum" delivered on all eight cylinders. It had suspense, tension, depth, a well-thought-out plot, exceptional acting, production, and direction, creepiness, absorption, and reward. If you like the sci-fi/horror type thing, DON'T MISS IT!!!!!
Five Stars *****
108 of 122 people found the following review helpful
on January 21, 2010
See the movie BELOW, about the WW2 submarine? A sleeper right? Seeing this with low expectations reminded me of seeing that with low expectations. Especially when the ending credits came up and I realized that they made it all the way to the end without losing it.
When I first saw the trailers for Pandorum I said (as it seems a few others did), well, I gotta see it but it's probably another Event Horizon or an Aliens(1 or 2) ripoff attempt or a space zombie "bug hunt". (And I joked with my wife that Quaid must need some quick cash to re-do his basement or something, and he'd probably be killed off in the third scene when it's too late to get your ticket money back.)
Not that there's anything wrong with any of those things, Event Horizon was good for the first half till it overexplained the obvious, Aliens 1/2 were classics that deserve homage and Resident Evil (1 and 3) were great zombie fun with excellent fight dancing. (And every actor is human with human cash needs.)
I missed this in the theatre and forgot about it till I went looking for MOON on DVD and noticed this came out at the same time, MOON was out of stock so I got this.
It's good, I have to say it's really good. Like all science fiction / horror fans I pride myself on being able to guess the inevitable twist and I'm pretty good but not this time. Not for the multiple twists.
After being SOOOOOOOOOOOO INCREDIBLY DISAPPOINTED by Avatar's ripping off Every Lousy children's use-syfy-to-cover-the-stinking-preaching storyline, this Pandorum film was a refreshing fun adult Action/SF flick.
Good multiple ending twists, fun and toe-curling fight scenes with well done good-olde "bug hunting" ;-) and a final ending that while "happy" actually worked well and satisfied without feeling like it was tacked on just because it tested well.
Glad I bought it, it's a keeper. Cudos to the crew and cast. Remember guys, the good SF usually doesn't do well at the box office but eventually rises to the top in home sales.
42 of 45 people found the following review helpful
on April 4, 2010
Some of these reviews are very eloquent and seem to be written by people with a great deal of entertainment expertise. All I can say about this movie is that I was on the edge of my seat from start to finish. It was a complete surprise. I thought it might be just another cheap sci-fi dud like we've all seen. Not so! If there was a negative I would say it leaned a bit toward the gory side. Not gratuitously though. And what a complete twist at the end! I think this movie deserves a solid "A".
12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
I caught this on cable and thought I'd watch a few minutes and then try and find something else. That never happened, I was on the edge of my seat for most of the movie. This film came as a complete surprise, and a good one at that. I'd never heard of this movie, and having grown tired of cheesy science fiction wanna be films that are mostly rip offs that fall short of being entertaining, was expecting this movie to be more of same. it wasn't.
This film straddled a couple of film genres quite well, bringing something new to the table and had enough twists in the plot to keep the viewer guessing, and it even fooled me in the end. The story holds up well, and isn't filled with holes like so much of what you see today.
12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on September 25, 2009
I just never know what to expect from horror / sci-fi films. Sometimes they work and sometimes they don't. I can't think of too many times where it didn't work. I guess there's Supernova, Doom, Virus, John Carpenter's Ghosts of Mars, and other films like that. But there's also the Alien movies, the first Species, Pitch Black, Event Horizon, and even the Resident Evil movies that hit the nail on the head. I would have to say Pandorum does a pretty decent job of hammering it down.
Pandorum is loud, noisy, and has more gore than I think most "regular" moviegoers are probably used to. That being said, it also strives to be intelligent and arty. It's kind of a strange mix. It melds together elements of such films as Event Horizon, Alien, Resident Evil, and even The Poseidon Adventure. I mean, the whole film is about a guy trying to reach the reactor of the ship to turn it back on. Just imagine Gene Hackman (or Kurt Russell, if you've only seen the remake Poseidon) and company trying to get off the ship before it breaks apart...but they're being chased by cannibalistic monsters that look similar to the creatures in The Descent and seem to have superhuman strength and speed.
The acting in the film for the most part is pretty decent. Dennis Quaid comes off kind of cheesy a few times and some of the dialogue for the other characters could have been spruced up a bit. There's really nothing to cry about, though. I was kind of excited to see that Norman Reedus (The Boondock Saints, Blade II, Deuces Wild, Gossip, Messengers 2: The Scarecrow) was in this, but was disappointed when his character gets dragged off a mere five minutes after he hits the screen.
The special effects and cinematography were very stylistic. The scene of the "mutant" cannibal lair where they're all piled on each other and intertwined was reminiscent of the scene in Alien Resurrection where Ripley is lying with all the Aliens in their lair. Now imagine having to crawl through them covered in their skin to get to where you need to go. Yes, it is pretty nerve-wracking and disturbing. The ferocious way the "mutants" run, attack, and eat their prey is also a big visual highlight.
You can tell that the writer of this film really did try to do something intelligent and new, while treading on some familiar ground. There's a pretty decent story lying under all the visual hocus-pocus and gore. I actually liked the end (one of them, at least), even though I could see it coming a mile away. I wanted to write that I didn't like it, but I just can't. It worked so well within the frame of the story.
Is Pandorum a groundbreaking film? No. Is it going to shock genre fans and be the next big thing? No. Is it a good movie that entertains, but at the same time doesn't dumb anything down story wise for action and gore? Yes. Like I said earlier, your "normal" Friday night movie-going audience will probably find it more shocking and gory than us genre gore hounds. It was still a good watch.
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
What seemed in previews to be "Event Horizon redux" (which is ironic considering that Event Horizon director Paul W.S. Anderson is a producer here), Pandorum proves to be just about anything but. Ben Foster and Dennis Quaid play crew members on a ship that is the last hope for the survival of humanity, and wake up with no memory of their identities or their mission. As the film goes on, both men grow to discover other survivors, as well as the fact that they are definitely not alone on the ship. I really don't want to say any more for fear of spoiling the surprises that lie within Pandorum, but it is safe to say that the film delivers the goods in terms of frights, suspense, gore, and overall mind messing. Though there are a number of plot holes to find, director Christian Alvart, who helmed the internationally acclaimed Antibodies, provides so much visual flair and grimy creepiness that it just ends up being hard to look away from the finished product and find anything wrong with it. It helps that Quaid and especially Foster are put to excellent use here as well, with Foster proving once again that he has become one of the most formidable, and underrated, actors around today. All in all, no matter how derivative Pandorum may look to you at first glance, give it a shot. You will indeed be glad that you did.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
Hyper-sleep, a stasis for humans traveling in space for years, is a relatively sacrosanct concept in sci-fi. It's a life preserving process shown in everything from Planet of the Apes to Alien. From Star Trek and Stargate to Avatar. But what happens when the chambers, and the mechanisms for keeping humans not only alive but functional upon awakening, malfunction on the immobile bodies?
The malfunction of stasis is the basis for Pandorum, both the movie and the resulting condition.
Bower (Ben Foster) awakens from his hyperbunk. Searing pain, confusion. When this space vessel left Earth in year 2174, the population had skyrocketed to unmaintainable levels and the ship's mission was to follow a probe that found possible salvation for Earth's remaining, starving population. Only Bower doesn't know how long he's been asleep, it's pitch black, and he hears strange noises. When Lieutentant Payton (Dennis Quaid) wakes up at least there's two of them. Right?
Initially just about everyone thought this was going to be Event Horizon's sequel. In some ways that is true. The difference, however, is that this adds another plot-dimension instead of an alternate dimension. Think of the visionless claustrophobia of Descent, where every pin drop is an atom bomb, every faint screech is the unknown danger lurking around the corner, waiting to kill, to torture, to feed. When Bower and Payton slowly uncover the ship's terrifying secrets - powered by a futuristic set and production that looks imminently dangerous - the film becomes perpetually tense and creepy.
Pandorum has not received widespread recognition, making it criminally unknown because of woeful promotion. A solid sci-fi, thriller the combination of action, horror, and sci-fi is captivating from beginning to end. Sure, it's derivative, and a few scenes could probably have been edited out, but the overall product is an exploration of tried and tested sci-fi practices. Highly recommended for sci-fi fans, the multiple twist endings should also draw in other cinema fans.
12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
on April 12, 2010
"Pandorum" was one of those rare films that blew me away and exceeded every expectation I had for it. From the mysterious opening to the horrific finale, this film is a work of carefully constructed perfection. Was it dark? Yes. Was it violent? Yes, but not gratuitously so. Was it tasteful? Totally! That's where this film succeeds where so many have failed. The STORY is the forefront of this film, and it really comes through.
14 of 17 people found the following review helpful
on March 17, 2010
This movie reminds me why I should not listen to critics. I had the urge to buy it when I saw it in my local store. I resisted after reading the headlines of major critics' reviews and purchased it on demand instead. After finishing the movie I regretted it-only because I will now be gladly paying full price for it. I should have gone with my gut feeling and just bought it for the full 20 bucks.
You are either a fan of this genre or you or not. If you are then this is a must own. If you are not then it is still a quality rental. It was MUCH better than I expected.