Non-Gaming: Pandorum Film Review

Non-Gaming: Movie Review: Pandorum
I had a chance to take the missus to a movie last week along with a friend, and we checked out the Sci Fi/Horror flick, Pandorum, starring Ben Foster and Dennis Quaid. I went into the flick with medium to low expectations, afterall, the last really intriguing Sci Fi/Horror movie I saw was Event Horizon years ago. Thankfully, Pandorum isn’t nearly as abstract, and in the end, manages to deliver an entertaining and even scary movie.
In brief, the story revolves around a technical engineer named  Bower (Ben Foster), who awakens from suspended animation on the starship Elysium with lost memories of who he is, and why he’s on the ship. As his memory slowly returns, he wakes up his superior officer Payton (Dennish Quaid), and the two try to discover why they have awoken ahead of schedule, and why the previous team tasked with running the ship has vanished. Over the course of this mystery, they discover that they are not alone, and humanoid creatures with incredible strength and ferocity are roaming the ship, feasting on the large number of passengers that are in suspended animation when they awaken. Added to the complexity is the fact that the ship’s reactor is dying, and if Ben and a motley crew of survivors don’t traverse the dangers of the ship and restore the reactor to power, they will die along with it. All the while there is the looming threat of succumbing to “Pandorum,” a sort of “Cabin Fever in Space,” for lack of a better term.
I won’t divulge any more concerning the plot, because it’s genuinely intriguing, and the opening half of the film is well paced and presented, with both Bower and the audience completely at a loss as to this new world they’ve been dropped into. The entire time I was watching the film, however, I couldn’t help but think of the video game Dead Space. As in, if you are a fan of Dead Space, and survival horror games, you will more than likely get some enjoyment from Pandorum.
The cast does a great job of presenting well-rounded characters given their minimal amount of significant dialogue and character development, but it’s just enough for you to form some type of attachment to them to the point where you don’t want to see them eaten by the creatures. Ben Foster and Dennis Quaid get the bulk of the responsibility of having to carry the movie, and they do their jobs extremely well. The creatures of the film are truly frightening, with excellent design, and a scene where you get to see the “heroes” try and take on just one creature and get their butts handed to them helped to sell how truly dangerous just one is, let alone a whole colony (which have made the ship their home). The overall visual tone of the film is excellently rendered, and there is no indulgence in visual effects just for the sake of visual effects. I don’t think the movie is nail-bitingly scary, but there are some great tense and claustrophobic moments where you have no idea what’s going to happen next, or where the scare is coming from, and that in itself is almost scarier than the “punchline.”
VERDICT: WATCH – Not much else can be said about this game. It’s like a good survival horror game without the wandering around aimlessly trying to find the square shaped octagon that will open the door to the hidden chamber. It takes the most effective elements of previous films in the genre and applies them to a rather unique story, with intriguing and well thought out characters, and wraps it up in a polished, often scary package. I had my doubts going in, and both me, my wife and our friend came away entertained. Movies that put story first are a rarity, in any genre, let alone the Sci Fi/Horror genre. The film is definitely worth a watch.

Pandorum Denis Quaid (1)

I had a chance to take the missus to a movie last week along with a friend, and we checked out the Sci Fi/Horror flick, Pandorum, starring Ben Foster and Dennis Quaid. I went into the flick with medium to low expectations, afterall, the last really intriguing Sci Fi/Horror movie I saw was Event Horizon years ago. Thankfully, Pandorum isn’t nearly as abstract, and in the end, manages to deliver an entertaining and even scary movie.

In brief, the story revolves around a technical engineer named  Bower (Ben Foster), who awakens from suspended animation on the starship Elysium with lost memories of who he is, and why he’s on the ship. As his memory slowly returns, he wakes up his superior officer Payton (Dennish Quaid), and the two try to discover why they have awoken ahead of schedule, and why the previous team tasked with running the ship has vanished.

Over the course of this mystery, they discover that they are not alone, and humanoid creatures with incredible strength and ferocity are roaming the ship, feasting on the large number of passengers that are in suspended animation when they awaken. Added to the complexity is the fact that the ship’s reactor is dying, and if Ben and a motley crew of survivors don’t traverse the dangers of the ship and restore the reactor to power, they will die along with it. All the while there is the looming threat of succumbing to “Pandorum,” a sort of “Cabin Fever in Space,” for lack of a better term.

Pandorum-Dennis-Quaid

I won’t divulge any more concerning the plot, because it’s genuinely intriguing, and the opening half of the film is well paced and presented, with both Bower and the audience completely at a loss as to this new world they’ve been dropped into. The entire time I was watching the film, however, I couldn’t help but think of the video game Dead Space. As in, if you are a fan of Dead Space, and survival horror games, you will more than likely get some enjoyment from Pandorum.

Pandorum crew

The cast does a great job of presenting well-rounded characters given their minimal amount of significant dialogue and character development, but it’s just enough for you to form some type of attachment to them to the point where you don’t want to see them eaten by the creatures.

Ben Foster and Dennis Quaid get the bulk of the responsibility of having to carry the movie, and they do their jobs extremely well. The creatures of the film are truly frightening, with excellent design, and a scene where you get to see the “heroes” try and take on just one creature and get their butts handed to them helped to sell how truly dangerous just one is, let alone a whole colony (which have made the ship their home). The overall visual tone of the film is excellently rendered, and there is no indulgence in visual effects just for the sake of visual effects. I don’t think the movie is nail-bitingly scary, but there are some great tense and claustrophobic moments where you have no idea what’s going to happen next, or where the scare is coming from, and that in itself is almost scarier than the “punchline.”

Pandorum weapon

VERDICT: WATCH – Not much else can be said about this movie. It’s like a good survival horror game without the wandering around aimlessly trying to find the square shaped octagon that will open the door to the hidden chamber. It takes the most effective elements of previous films in the genre and applies them to a rather unique story, with intriguing and well thought out characters, and wraps it up in a polished, often scary package. I had my doubts going in, and both me, my wife and our friend came away entertained. Movies that put story first are a rarity, in any genre, let alone the Sci Fi/Horror genre. The film is definitely worth a watch.

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2 Responses to “Non-Gaming: Pandorum Film Review”

  1. Great review. This is pretty much how I felt about the movie, though they did kill of my favorite character. I could definitely watch this movie again.

    Knowing my severe non love for Ben Foster, you can guess how much that admission hurts me. lol.

  2. lol. oh i know about your hatred of Ben Foster…

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