Pandorum begins with Corporal Bower (Ben Foster) waking up from extended hypersleep during deep space travel. He’s aboard a ship headed for a planet that’s supposed to be the new Earth. The old Earth’s inhabitants have over populated and run out of resources. It turns out the ship is humanity’s last hope since during the exodus towards their new home, the old Earth has somehow exploded into nothingness.
Bower wakes up not remembering anything as a symptom of his deep sleep. He slowly starts putting the pieces together and eventually comes across his commanding officer played by Dennis Quaid. Their story turns towards restoring the mammoth ship they’re aboard back to working order and figuring out where the hell they are. They discover they are not the only survivors out of the 60,000 or so other passengers.
The ship/movie ultimately boils down to being a post-apocalytic noah’s ark with a horror kind of feel to it. The storyline tries a little too hard to be creepy at times although it does succeed in moments as well. In terms of writing, it’s ok, nothing we haven’t seen before, somewhat predictable although there is a bit of twist with their location. They play a lot off of the space madness that inflicts the passengers aboard the ship, so there’s a virus/infection element here too. It seems like they just kind of stapled these elements together from their filmmaker’s handbooks.
The acting is ok too, I would say Ben Foster is the standout here, definitely nailed his character and was engaging to watch. Dennis Quaid did his best Dennis Quaid, but much the same kind of character he’s been playing of late. I like when he takes more chances and does some deeper character work. This is his generic thriller dude.
One side note about some of the characters. Bower runs into 2 survivors that are supposed to be scientists; what was interesting about them was just how adept they were at fighting. Do scientists take martial arts and weapons training courses on the side? Seemed like a bit of a stretch. I would have made them more realistic, much more interesting to watch. These generic side characters equal eye candy mostly.
If you are really in the mood for a good, creepy-as-hell space flick, check out Event Horizon (Lawrence Fishburne, Sam Neil) instead.
reviewed by Sean McKnight