In Pandorum, Earth’s future is bleak. The population has exploded to unsustainable levels. The human species’s only hope is to find another habitable planet. Miraculously, a space probe discovers the planet Tanis with a similar environment as Earth. The humans build the spaceship Elysium to transport a small population to Tanis over 100 years away to rebuild human life. Some time during the voyage, something goes awry, as Corporal Bower (Ben Foster) discovers upon waking up from hyper-sleep. He can’t remember anything, the crew is missing and his only companion is Lieutenant Payton (Dennis Quaid), who has an equally spotty memory. Unfortunately, they’re also accompanied by seemingly alien life forms that roam the ship’s corridors in hunting packs and have a taste for human flesh. It’s up to Bower to somehow save the Elysium and guide the ship to Tanis, or all of humanity is lost.
The film also looks fantastic in every respect. The creatures are suitably creepy. The costumes are logical and not just stylish. Pandorum even manages to present interesting sets that go beyond dark corridors. Even the technology appears completely thought-out, ranging from functional, clip-on communicators to hand-cranked computer consoles. The horror is also a cut above the standard fare. Sure, the monsters are scary, but the scares are handled fairly, with things jumping out of the shadows kept to a minimum. The real horror plays on basic human fears, like loneliness, claustrophobia and self-doubt. The only downside is that Pandorum doesn’t sustain the scares throughout the film, opting instead for more action-oriented scenes halfway through the film until its completion.
Some viewers may also be disappointed in the direction of the film. Most shots seem more utilitarian than artistic, but this is a minor concern if anything at all. With its excellent production value, cast and story, Pandorum is a memorable addition to the sci-fi horror genre.
Blu-ray Special Features In addition to the main feature, Blu-ray owners will also have a digital copy that they can download to their computers and set-top boxes. The Blu-ray is also loaded with a slew of deleted scenes and alternate takes that are definitely worth watching. Audio commentary is provided by director Christian Alvert and producer Jeremy Bolt, which viewers who are looking for more production insight will enjoy. Finally, there are still galleries and two extra videos to help flesh out the Pandorum universe: the Flight Team Training Video and a film short that explains what happened to Nadia’s team. The latter video is probably the weakest of all the special feature offerings, as it’s written and acted ham-fistedly and comes off as more of a video game mission introduction. Nevertheless, the Pandorum Blu-ray is an excellent addition to any movie collection.
'Pandorum' is out now on Blu-ray and DVD from Overture Films