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- David Cronenberg

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September 8, 2010

Flicks: Pandorum (2009)

Ben Foster in Pandorum (2009) copyright Overture Films.
In space, no one can hear you scream but everyone can see you pee your long johns.

The US/German co-production of Pandorum is a stand-out survival horror film set in deep space. The movie incorporates the best elements of Aliens 3, Event Horizon, Resident Evil, Red Planet and even uglier versions of John Carpenter's Ghosts of Mars baddies[0]. Writer Travis Milloy crafts a tense and chilling tale of a futuristic space Ark under attack in the darkness and in danger of total annihilation.

Randy Quaid, as Lt. Payton, anchors a colonization ship sent to the distant Earth-like planet of Tannis. The Elysium is en route on it's 123-year voyage from the pollution ravaged Earth and carries thousands of crew, personnel and civilians placed aboard in hyper-sleep to await their rotation to guide the ship to their new distant home.

Randy Quaid in Pandorum (2009) copyright Overture Films.
Oh, snap - did dat sound like a Golden Marmaset to you?

Problems unfold in a well-paced and methodical plot as many of these interpid voyagers become warm brunch for a pack of ravenous, cannibalistic non-humans. The movie's FX, both make-up and post-production, add an eerie super-human quality to the ferocious cannibals as they hunt Ben Foster[1] and beautiful German actress Antje Traue in the vast steel caverns of the Elysium.

In applying classic Stanislawsky Method Acting to a film script using interior versus exterior tension Milloy's screenplay's namesake comes from a unique type of space madness that derails the colonists. This illness is referred to euphemistically as Pandorum aka Orbital Dysfunction Syndrome (O.D.S.). Pandorum is paranoid dementia accompanied by profuse bleeding from the face followed by sudden homicidal or suicidal outbursts. This just what a space traveler needs when he's cooped up for 123 years: mouthy, violent space idjits.

This psychological aspect of the film attacks the crews' senses and psyches as they desperately evade and combat the cannibals.

Antje Traue in Pandorum (2009) copyright Overture Films.
FACT: Actress Antje Traue was frankensteined from the flawless face of Carrie Anne Moss and body of Kate Beckinsale.

The movie is very good but has some failings that occur in the very end that make for a bumpy ride. These twists may have been designed to get nervous teen-agers attention away from their cell-phones, feel copping or Twizzler buckets but make for some rough viewing by anyone not multi-tasking at the Multiplex with Mustang Sally.

The writing, acting and production are all very compelling with a stand-out performance by Ben Foster and supporting actors Eddie Rouse and Cung Le.

[0] = The Sleaze-A-Saurus freely offers you points for a forced viewing of Ghosts of Mars, scaleless manlings... Ice Cube as an interstellar Boy From The Hood and the chick from Species as a tougher than nails space cop kinda sunk any chances that Carpenter's script ever had.
[1] = Ben Foster's previous experience included a walk-on in X-Men 3 and a role in the truly unwatchable 30 Days Of Night. The latter of which he played a bearded vampire groupie only known as "The Stranger".

IMDB, Pandorum (2009)
Burn All Zombies!, Screamin' Through Space
Midnight Movie, How I Survived Space Cooties by Jorge Borenstein
Scheckie's Space Depot, Pandorum Wallpaper

Pandorum is available at:
Pandorum on Amazon


Anonymous said...

FACT: Actress Antje Traue was frankensteined from the flawless face of Carrie Anne Moss and body of Kate Beckinsale.

Love that description. Great site BTW.

Gargantuan Media said...

Fang you. Fang you very much, manling.