Pandorum (2009)

Genre(s): Horror / Science Fiction / Thriller
Anchor Bay || R - 108 minutes - $29.98 || January 19, 2010
Reviewer: Tyler Thomas || Posted On: 2010-01-18


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.:: F I L M ::.
The Film

S P E C I A L
.: F E A T U R E S :.

Special Features

.:: V I D E O ::.
Video

.:: A U D I O ::.
Audio

.:: O V E R A L L ::.
Overall
.::MOVIE INFORMATION::.
Director: Christian Alvart
Writer(s): Travis Milloy and Christian Alvart (story), Travis Milloy (screenplay)
Cast: Dennis Quaid, Ben Foster, Cam Gigandet, Antje Traue, Cung Le


Theatrical Release Date: September 25, 2009


.::DVD INFORMATION::.
Supplemental Material:
  • Feature Commentary
  • 3 Featurettes
  • Deleted Scenes
  • Still Galleries


Technical Information:
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Widescreen (2.35)
  • English (Dolby Surround 5.1), Spanish (Mono 1.0)
  • Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish

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.::THE FILM::.

Iím going to come right out and say it: I actually jumped a few times while watching Pandorum. There are literally scares, upon scares, upon Dennis Quaid trying to act throughout the whole movie. Yes, that was a clever zinger I put in there, donít hate on me. Letís get onto the box-office bomb Pandorum, although in my opinion the film should have been more successful during its brief theatrical run.

Bower (Ben Foster) wakes up in a terrifying state of mind, as he is enclosed in a capsule on a ship that was supposed to be on a routine voyage to outer space. He eventually makes it out of the capsule only to realize that he appears to be a lone survivor on the ship, for reasons heís unaware of yet. He walks around for a bit until Payton (Dennis Quaid) finds him and the two discuss what is going on with the ship. Payton sends Bower to try and fix the power to the ship so they can call for help and get the heck out of here, and since Payton is the superior officer Bower heads to the electrical area.

Along the way he finds the decimated body of a crew member, and runs into Nadia (Antje Traue) who nearly kills him for talking. She warns him that something is going on here and runs away. Bower, still scared by the events, manages to find Leland (Eddie Rouse) and Manh (Cung Le) in his struggled to find the power, but also runs into some aliens along the way. The aliens are incredibly fast, creepy, and seem to be the reason or the ship not working properly and the fact there are so few humans left aboard. Eventually Bower manages to meet Nadia again, who agrees to take the trio to the electrical room but there are other problems to deal with on the ship. Mainly though itís the aliens and the deteriorating state of mind that Payton, the captain of the ship, is in as he seems to be going somewhat psychotic. Can Bower and crew find a way off the ship and restore the power, or will they succumb to the crazy effects known as pandorum?

I freaking loved the horror aspect of this movie to the upmost degree. I was scared numerous times throughout the film, which if youíve ever read my horror reviews is incredibly rare at best. Iíve seen so many horror films that becoming desensitized at a young age made horror films quite boring for me throughout the years, but Pandorum brought the scare factor back for me for at least a few days. The jump sequences of which there are numerous caught me nearly each time, despite the fact that I knew something was going to happen I just didnít know what.

The problem I have with the flick is the fact that not only does the twist at the end somewhat sucks, but the characters are too one-sided for me to handle. Nadia is a complete bad-ass during the entire movie, yet the rest of the cast are pretty much wusses except for Manh. Bower is such a wuss that hearing him talk made me want to mute the awesome audio track whenever he spoke. I give props to Quaid and Foster for trying to be in a horror film, but they just arenít suited enough to act that well in a scary movie. I felt like there lines were tacky and outdated in comparison to the supporting cast, of which was much better than the main actors attached.

Another issue I had with the flick was the runtime. Just as the film really took off for me it ended shortly thereafter. The kill scenes were great, although I could have used more background as to what happened on the ship and the remaining crew. Thereís not enough depth to this film that allows audiences to get connected with the characters and once or if they do then the movie is pretty much done over.

All in all though, the movie has some great horror effects, some awesome creatures, and Quaid and Foster attempting to act like they are scared of aliens. You canít get that from every movie you see, trust me.



.::SPECIAL FEATURES::.

Commentary with Christian Alvart and Jeremy Bolt: I would have much rather preferred a cast commentary instead of this track despite the twoís best effort to bring an entertaining commentary to audiences. Alvart is energetic when he describes the story, cast, and other various things and so is Bolt, but the two tend to drag on about halfway through the track. They do offer a ton of insight into the movie and background information, so if youíre into those types of things then youíll find this fun to listen to.

The World of Elysium (14 minutes): This is basically your behind-the-scenes feature that goes into the making of the film and also some neat extras on how the film was shot. The story is also detailed and how the movie came to be, so if you enjoyed the movie then this will probably interest you as well.

What Happened to Nadiaís Team (5 minutes): I was somewhat confused by how this ended, so feel free to comment in the comments section your thoughts on this extra. Nadia and another man are given a few minutes to explain their situation then killed off.

Flight Team Training Video (3 minutes): Skip this, as all this extra offers is a look at the film in a glorified historic manner thatís quite boring.

Deleted and Alternate Scenes (28 minutes): There are a ton of scenes to watch here and ironically enough this extra is longer than the rest combined. The scenes arenít all that great, but I enjoyed the flick enough to sit through these and I will say that they are worth watching. That is though, only if you found the film to be entertaining, otherwise youíll probably want to pass. The scenes provide alternate ways the movie was shot, and the deleted scenes deal with the cast mates.

Finally, a Still Gallery can be viewed if you so choose.



.::AUDIO & VIDEO::.

Sadly, after watching the high-def counterpart of the film I went into the DVD expecting a good transfer and left with a feeling of sadness. Colors are nowhere near as cheery and well-done as they were in the Blu-ray. Brightness levels were also slightly off too, as I noticed several times where the screen was too dark even for a horror film to make anything out. There were also multiple scenes literally encased with noise and grain, much more than the HD counterpart, and that was a huge issue for me. That being said though, this is still an acceptable transfer although itís clear that the high-def counterpart got way more work done to it in the end.

The Dolby Digital 5.1 track, as you can certainly expect, is also a major letdown compared to the Blu-Ray. While surround sound here is still decently done, and I didnít detect any sort of imbalance here either, the issue of not being able to hear dialogue was apparent here. I struggled to hear most of the dialogue throughout the movie, as dialogue was at a lower level than surround usage was, and during most action sequences I couldnít make out what was being said. I also noticed the severe problem of dialogue just falling flat in terms of sound quality. This is still a decent track though for a horror flick, as I still jumped a few times because of the noise, but the Blu-ray clearly wins the battle here.



.::OVERALL::.

I enjoyed Pandorum and even jumped a few times due to the sheer amount of scare moments that are riddled throughout. The ending though is predictable and most horror aficionados will be able to see it coming, so be prepared for a little bit of a letdown. The technical specks here are decent for a DVD and the special features are somewhat interesting. Iíd say that this is worth a rental but just be careful to not go too crazy while watching the flick and develop that insane feeling.