ByJohn Mountain, writer at
John Mountain

Directed by Christian Alvart

Story by Christian Alvart and Travis Milloy

Screenplay by Travis Milloy

Norman Reedus’ character, Shepard, dies in Pandorum. He is on screen for less than five minutes before he is hanged, gutted and has his entrails devoured by a horde of cannibalistic humanoid underground space ark dwellers (CHADs?). I’m not giving away a spoiler; his character is not essential to the plot of the film. What’s important to know is that someone used the footage of his demise as a catalyst to perpetuate the rumor that this would be how Reedus’ character, Daryl Dixon, would meet his end on AMC’s popular zombie series The Walking Dead. To whomever started such a rumor: shame on you. The second and most important reason why I mention this scene and the accompanying side-story is that it is the only noteworthy thing that Pandorum has going for itself. This film is an absolute mess from start to finish and to be honest I find it hard to believe that the cast members had any idea as to what was going on or what they were doing from scene to scene.

It’s the year 21-something or other. I don’t remember and I’m too lazy today to give a crap. There is some plot about how humans have overcrowded earth and therefore used up the food and water supply. It’s sort of like drinking the milk and leaving the carton in the refrigerator-only on a global scale. Anyway, we find an inhabitable planet and begin the long journey on board the space-ark Elysium. The voyage is supposed to last for over a hundred years-it’s interrupted and Cpl. Bower and Lt. Payton are awakened from hyper-sleep with a case of selective amnesia. They can remember what their function is on board the ship; they just can’t remember very much else.

Bower searches for answers and Payton stays at the communications center. Bower finds more survivors on board and that’s when things begin to get weird. The survivors are all from different missions. At least I think they were-I grow disturbingly confused on that plot point. Finding the survivors is a ‘good news-bad news’ scenario. The good news is that some of them are fine for the most part and looking for answers, also. The bad news is that most of them have become those CHAD’s that I mentioned in a previous paragraph. Now, Bower and the rest of the Elysium gang have to find a way to keep from being caught and eaten as well as a way home and off of the ship. As for Lt. Payton he’s dealing with the enigmatic Cpl. Gallo, also awakened from hyper-sleep and who may be a lot closer to Payton than we would be lead to believe.

Pandorum has the look and feel of your typical science fiction-survival horror video game-namely Dead Space or its sequels. What it doesn’t have going for it aside from a few brief moments is the claustrophobic, heart-pounding in your throat excitement that those games have going for them. I take that back-there are not a few brief moments such as that. Every jump scare or action sequence is telegraphed so far in advance that I began to wonder if I wasn’t receiving subliminal messages to warn me. The other complaint I have is about the dialog. The ambient sounds on board the ship and the soundtrack music make what the characters are saying nearly indecipherable at times. In short, Pandorum is a complete waste of 108 minutes. If you’re thinking about watching it after this then may I suggest you do something more productive with your time? Playing Dead Space comes to mind.


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