Guess what, folks--I'm not seeing ZOMBIELAND this weekend! Not seeing it NEXT weekend, either! You see, I'm not worried about that one. It's going to be a big hit, and it will still be around in two weeks... it's not the sort of film you can "spoil" for me... and it's what I'm taking my wife to for our anniversary!
So I'm going back on part of my word--to hell with JENNIFER'S BODY, but the prospect of PANDORUM still held my interest, mainly because nobody could really get me to comprehend what this thing was supposed to be about! I knew that Dennis Quaid was in it, and that there were monsters. Hell, I didn't even know that Paul W.S. Anderson was one of the producers!
Okay, have you heard the one about the last man on Earth continuing to meet more people? That's sort of what we have here. Ben Foster and Dennis Quaid awaken from hypersleep aboard a gigantic space vessel which is supposedly on the mission of transporting sustainable life to a new Earth-like planet (our own planet is overloaded, overtaxed and ready to blow, don't you know). But something is dreadfully wrong aboard the "Elysium." There's no navicomp pointing out where they are, there's no communication from the bridge (or from anywhere else), AND there's just been a major power failure. Someone's going to have to fix the reactor... trouble is, both of our protagonists are trying to get their memories back after their hypersleep.
Uh-oh... the ship is in bigger trouble than anyone thought. People have been popping out of their lifepods seemingly at random, dead bodies keep popping up, and a horde of nasty monsters (they look like the DESCENT creatures in ROAD WARRIOR getup) is tearing up everyone they can get their claws on.
Oh, the title? "Pandorum" is a form of space madness (even worse than that suffered by Ren and Stimpy) that may or may not be afflicting certain cast members.
Top-billed Quaid mainly gets the "sit and wait in the control room" part while Ben Foster (and the allies he picks up along the way) get most of the action. Quaid DOES get some good scenes, though.
All right, here's the breakdown. I'm essentially glad I saw this. There's actually a great story and some intelligence at this film's heart... it aspires to SUNSHINE and MOON in many respects--but with monsters and gore. And while it doesn't live up to either of those examples, it's a hell of a lot better than, say, SUPERNOVA.
The problem is (yet again), a director and an editor who think they're making a CRANK movie. The action/horror scenes are hopelessly muddled with frantic, rapid-fire cuts, and I don't think I've ever heard quite so many WHAM! effects (characters getting thrown bodily against a flat surface) in a single movie before (though nobody so much as breaks a bone in any of this action). People! It only works if it really IS a CRANK movie, okay?
And while some of the monster business is actually quite scary (especially a scene in which Foster is required to somehow infiltrate their ranks)? If there WAS a good explanation as to what they were and how they got on the ship, I missed it (which is entirely possible). On the other hand, the "Pandorum" subplot itself is very nicely handled and even offers a surprise or two.
A valiant, hopeful effort that tries too hard to be something it doesn't need to be. It's definitely worth a matinee or an eventual DVD rental and it certainly doesn't belong in the slag heap with a lot of this year's crop.
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