Thursday, October 27, 2011

Pandorum (2009)

Where the future reverts back to our past

This is a tale of extreme survival in the distant future for what's possibly to come when over population hits. "Pandorum" is a splice between something like "Planet of the Apes" and "The Descent" with the state of evolution with humans mixed with "The Shining" and "Event Horizon" with the horrors that can happen in an inescapable enclosed area and how the mind can get mixed up. This was actually produced by director Paul W.S. Anderson of "Event Horizon," which I believe is his best film to date. This feels like an apocalyptic future on a ship, where resources are even slimmer than they would be on an impoverished Earth. It uses the uncomfortableness and shock of the horror genre and the speed and physicalities from action to accelerate the story. There's also an element of mystery as the characters are thrown mid-stream into an unknown situation that they have to manage to stay afloat till the deadly pull is over or they can find the shore with solid footing.

It's the year 2174 and the population has grown to such a degree that food and water is scarce. On a ship called Elysium, a man wakes up in a hypersleep chamber with no memory of who he is except the name Corporal Bower (Ben Foster) on the outside glass. Another man with Lieutenant Payton (Dennis Quaid) printed wakes up an hour later and together they try and figure out where everyone else is and what they're doing there. Payton stays in the control center and directs the younger man through the corridors. Bower runs into strange alien looking beings with warrior strength who are trying to kill and eat him. He encounters other humans who treat their dire situation as an every man for himself one. He teams up with a buff, English-less Vietnamese man (Cung Le) who was in the agriculture department and a fierce German woman (Antje Traue) who is protecting the specimens for the planet they were headed to called Tanis that's supposed to be like Earth. Bower has to fix the reactor of the ship that is causing power surges or else they'll get cut off in what could be the middle of space. Meanwhile Payton runs into another man named Gallo (Cam Gigandet) who was part of an earlier team and claims the others went through "Pandorum": a rare condition that makes someone with a tendency for a psychological disorder snap from paranoia due to a side effect of being in deep space.

The movie has an onrushing charge that still manages to take a breather to explain its backstory in steady increments that lead up to a building culmination. The characters run, hide and fight to get through the ship with traps and nests waiting in their way. People aren't who they say they are, things aren't what they seem and some revelations and twists are in store. The performances are more with physicalities and facial expression than with line delivery and the dramatic. With the exception of Payton and Gallo's back and forth banter about making rash decisions, emotions are usually suppressed due to the harsh environment. Though the story and sets act like anchors in this regard to brace the development of the characters and how they interact. There are some grisly scenes when it comes to violence. Some of the fights are choreographed like a martial arts film with high jumps and ferocious kicks and punches, along with makeshift barbaric weapons that cruelly sink into flesh as if this reverted back to the caveman days. The sets are filthy and unkempt, almost like an industrial factory with metal structures and the remnants of everything vile that has crept through. There are some worked up scenes that play on anticipation and the discomfort of it all, such as an incredibly claustrophobic scene where Bower has to crawl through tight spaces with no clue where he's going, little air and no way to turn around. "Pandorum" shows what we're capable of becoming as human beings when adapting to a new situation outside of our normal environment--backstabbers, cannibals, crazed--just taken to the hilt due the unique set of circumstances the film suggests: when space brings out our primal tendencies instead of progress.

Rating: 8.5/10

Director: Christian Alvart (Antibodies, Case 39)
Stars: Ben Foster, Dennis Quaid, Antje Traue, Cung Le, Cam Gigandet
Link: IMDB

No comments:

Post a Comment