While Avatar and James Cameron's beautiful world of Pandora continue to dominate theaters, another sci-fi action film - titled Pandorum - arrives on DVD and Blu-Ray. It is no Golden Globe-winner, however. Starring Ben Foster and Dennis Quaid, Pandorum is your poor man's Event Horizon, and that's not a good thing.
In Pandorum, Bower (Foster) wakes up from cryogenic sleep aboard a gigantic spaceship, unable to remember how he got there. He ventures out into the abandoned crypt of a vessel to restart the reactor and get back on course, and immediately encounters remnants of humanity and a whole bunch of mutated monsters who would like nothing more than to tear him apart limb from limb.
Pandorum is Event Horizon meets The Descent, only not as scary or exciting as either of those movies. It has a larger budget than District 9 but looks half as cheap, with shoddy visuals and questionable visual effects. The set design is pretty cool, but Christian Alvart fails to take advantage of the moody design (how come futuristic spaceships are always so creepy?); the movie lacks any sense of dread despite its claustrophobic setting. In fact, the movie lacks almost everything that would make it good, including an original story, quality acting or any semblance of suspense.
Foster, who turned in an extraordinary performance in The Messenger, is pretty damn bad, though the screenplay is equally deserving of blame. Luckily for him, Quaid and the rest of the cast matches him pace for pace; they clearly showed up for a paycheck.
Hardcore sci-fi fans may find some enjoyable moments, but Pandorum is a cheap copy of other, better movies. Avoid this one.
For those that do venture into the abysmal world of Pandorum, the DVD does come with a few special features, including a behind-the-scenes featurette, a back story on one of the characters, a flight team training video, deleted scenes and an audio commentary with director Christian Alvart.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.
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