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Movies Review

Pandorum

By
Pandorum
Director: Christian Alvart
Screenwriters: Travis Milloy, Christian Alvart (Story)
Starring: Dennis Quaid, Ben Foster, Antje Traue, Cung Le, Cam Gigandet
Running time: 108 mins
Rating: 15

"They're dead, Dave... Everybody, Dave. They're all dead. Everybody's dead, Dave." Not a line from Pandorum, but instead one from the opening episode of British sitcom Red Dwarf, one which immediately springs to mind at the start of this movie. Just like Scouser in space Dave Lister, Corporal Bower (Ben Foster) awakes from stasis seemingly stranded in the cosmos. Unlike Lister, poor Bower is reanimated half-naked, covered in slime and with what looks like an impending attack of the shakes.

Shortly after he stirs, Bower is joined by Lieutenant Payton (Dennis Quaid), and the two soon hatch a plan - namely to get the former to shimmy to the ship's reactor, sort out the power and find out who's alive and what the bejesus is going on. Those opening scenes are the best of the film, throwing up a load of darkness, confusion and that right mix of emptiness and fear that's been the stock-in-trade of the neat sci-fi chiller from Alien through to Event Horizon. But it goes downhill very, very fast.

To shamelessly borrow from the BBFC's extended classification of the movie: "As with many such films, the threat and menace present at the beginning of the work disappear as soon as we see the monsters." Boy, they're not wrong. If their remit was wider, they could have added that from the moment a sub-Silent Hill creature is lit up by one of Bower's annoyingly plentiful supply of glowsticks, it's a painfully dull trudge until the end of the movie.

On his travels round the ship, Bower bumps into Nadia (Antje Traue) and Manh (Cung Le), two characters so poorly drawn they could have been ported straight from the cut-scene of an underwritten console game. Indeed, it won't surprise anyone to discover that this project has been produced by Paul W.S. Anderson and Jeremy Bolt of the Resident Evil series. Annoyingly, the potentially entertaining dumb fun of the fight scenes are a mess of noisy fast cuts that are tricky to follow, even if you had the inclination.

Pandorum is neither schlocky enough to be an enjoyable genre flick, nor smart enough to provoke any original thoughts. Your patience worn thin by what seems like an eternity of Bowyer's endless journey (Lord Of The Rings this ain't) contrasted with Payton's disconnected overview of the situation, the movie then hits you with a barrage of secondhand ideas in its final act in an attempt to lend the picture an air of depth or intelligence. It doesn't succeed.


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