Saturday, February 6, 2010


What? That's how you spell it. I know the movie's called Pandorum, but every time I read or say it, I think of "pandemonium" (foreshadowing?). Which might have to do with the name, but I'm thinking it's more like Pandora. What is with the film industry and Pandora lately? You know, maybe it's not pandemonium or Pandora. Maybe it's pandas. Space pandas.

Space Pandas. It's going to happen.

We all know sending animals into space usually results in either important research results, or horrible, horrible movies.


Actually, not so much with the important research. In any case, what does all this have to do with Pandorum? Well, space. And pandas. Not really, though. Just the space.

It's actually kind of ironic. I picked up Pandorum when I read that it took place on a ship (I had just watched Ghost Ship and wanted more nautical horror), however, I didn't realize that the DVD cover meant space-ship, not ship-ship. Admittedly, I was disappointed. But I didn't write it off just yet. C'mon, it had Ben Foster in it. And Dennis Quaid, but whatever. The irony? I actually ended up kind of liking it.

The film begins with Ben Foster being birthed from a cryo-tube (or something) after waking up to a seemingly deserted ship. Now, for anyone who hasn't seen the cover of the film, this is it:

I feel like he should be holding an apple.
Or a baseball. Pretty much anything round.

Look at those tubes. Those are INTENSE! Apparently, space IVs are made large enough to accommodate solid food. I think I'd only fear what happens next if "what's next" was getting those things removed. Holy shit.

After Ben Foster tears the PVC pipe out of his flesh, the saddest part of the movie occurs: he puts his clothes on. Up until then, he was walking around in very little. But I suppose it makes sense. Must be cold in space. Once his clothes are on, he attacks his monster beard (which has grown a lot, but his hair is still incredibly short. What's with that?) with the coolest razor ever. A laser razor. I want one of those things. It's friggin' magic! Anyway, then the scariest part happens: Dennis Quaid wakes up and is also scantily clad. However, before Dennis wakes up, while Ben Foster is trying to make sense of his sudden wakefulness and his memory loss (he finds a handy sign telling him that cryo-sleep, or hyper-sleep, or whatever, results in temporary memory loss), he looks himself over and finds a number tattooed along his left forearm. According to the film, that number is his crew number, rank, and social insurance number (the last part may not be true). Also according to the film, that was not tattooed there by Nazis. You win this time, Pandorum, but I'm on to you.

What really made me laugh was the one German chick who attacks Ben Foster every time she sees him. She's German and attacking the guy with the arm tattoo full of numbers. I wonder if that was at all intentional? You know, I think for once I will not ruin the ending of this film. Or the whole plot. I'll just point out things that made me laugh. Or question the sanity of the filmmakers.

The original movie poster. Failed the public appeal tests.

This film was actually more like an amalgamation of Lost in Space, Ghost Ship, and The Cave (I'm still missing my copy and that chafes my ass). They're lost (and on a space ship), the ship is seemingly deserted, and eventually, they encounter very interesting and dangerous creatures. And of course, there is a twist at the end. Not in the style of Shyamalan. More like the twist ending that all horror/thrillers have. "Oh my god! The killer was really his father's brother's wife! That's why she stole the necklace! She was supposed to have it, according to the will, but everyone thought she was dead! Oh my god!"

Also in true horror fashion, the main character, Ben Foster, is always falling down. "Hey, some stairs. Shit!", "Wow, that's a really cool gun! Whoops!", "That looks like a solid foothold. Fuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuu--!" You get the idea. I understand that his balance is probably a bit off considering he's been sleeping in a tube of goo for a really long time and his muscles have probably weakened somewhat, but really? Does he really need to fall every 5 minutes?

I'll just pop downstairs and flip on the react-- AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH!!

But never mind about Ben Foster's lack of equilibrium (not a bad movie, actually). The reason for this monster space trek is that Earth is dying and humanity needs to establish colonies on a new planet before they're all kaput. They decided to send out a space ship full of army guys, botanists, biologists, and every other profession you can think of that isn't lawyer or hair stylist. (Also no carnies.) When Ben Foster wakes up, he realizes that the ship has no power. The navigation systems are down, the engines are down, and the ship is experiencing random power surges. Ben, with Quaid's help, makes his way out of the locked crews' quarters (all the doors are down since there's no power. I don't remember DOORKNOBS needing power.) and makes his way to the reactor. He's the tech expert on the ship. Which means he's the only one qualified to flip a big switch.

Don't worry. I'm a tech expert.

On his way, he collects a random group of "survivors" and they all stick together on the path to the reactor. This is my favourite part of the film. They're finally at the reactor and when the camera pans to it, it looks like it's got three giant-sized (as in 3 feet tall) AA batteries stuck right into the side. Comedic gold, right there.

As I've promised not to ruin the end of the movie, I won't go on anymore about the plot. I will say that that is one gory movie. Not on the same level as Fargo, or what I assume SAW would be, but it has its moments. Of gore.

The verdict for this movie is that it's surprisingly not awful, though it does get a bit repetitive. And ew to Dennis Quaid with no pants on.

Next up: Surrogates.

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