Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Ten Statements About....PANDORUM (2009) (and a few words about the Loews Village 7)

Dennis Quaid searches for the agent who gave him such bad
career advice
1) If you're going to entrust someone with shepherding humanity to its new home, you can do lots worse than Dennis Quaid.

2) It's nice to see that the Crawlers from The Descent have survived well into the future.

3) No, really. This film owes so much to Neil Marshall's cave-dwelling opus that director Christian Alvart should be writing Neil some checks for co-writing the damn thing. There are some scenes--like the one where Ben Foster's Bower and Antje Trau's Nadia have to hide in a pool where the Crawler-like thingies throw their discards--which are direct lifts.

4) Norman Reedus is the Antonio Fargus of our time, even if his character bites off of one from Neil Marshall's Doomsday. No pun intended.

5) I didn't realize that Antje Trau was German until I realized the film was a German/American co-production. I honestly thought she was an Australian with a weird voice.

6) Perhaps the biggest thing going for Ben Foster as an actor is his ability to look like anyone he needs to. I didn't connect him to the Stranger in 30 Days of Night or the Angel in X3 until I called up his imdb page. The fact that he was naggingly familiar but not readily so actually helped with the veracity of the film's world.

"Aren't you supposed to be in a cave somewhere?"
7) I like how that, even though these creatures sleep under a honking big, presumably nuclear reactor, the script ascribed their generation to good ol' fashion genetics gone wild.

8) Maybe it's just because I've watched far, far too many movies of this type, but two of the major beats in the film--including a massive one concerning the identity of the main antagonist--are telegraphed far, far too early and can be pieced together by the audience far, far too easily.

9) I do like how the film teases that both of its leads suffer from Pandorum, a psychological disorder related to the effects of 'hypersleep,' which throws into doubt everything we learn from both Quaid's Payton and Foster's Bower in the first act. Likewise the fact that extended hypersleep supposedly causes the sleeper to experience massive memory loss. Granted, once one of the aforementioned beats gives the identity of the antagonist away, this aspect is lost completely.

10) There is something very refreshing about a film that's unapologetic in its R Rated-ness in this world of PG-13 horror.

In short. while I more than appreciated the fact that this film wasn't afraid of appealing to adults as opposed to the teenagers of the world, it is rather flawed. The derivative nature of the story does interfere with the flow, and Alvart needs to learn more about concealing your plot twists. But still...it's another science fiction film that's not a remake or a franchise, and there's something to be said about that.

This, by the way, was the first time I've been in the Lowes Village 7 for some time, and I was pleasantly surprised. In an effort to attract matinee audiences, the theater has instituted a '$6 Morning' policy of charging six bucks for any show that starts before noon, actually seems to put the trailers that make sense before the movie (Oh, and the people who are remade The Stepfather? Terry O'Quinn and Donald Westlake should take turns kicking your ass...), and have an actual Classic Movies Program on Sundays! Check them out.


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  2. The thing is: Neil Marshall didn't invent those creatures or those scenes. Man-eating creatures that de-evolved from humans who live in caves has been around since HG Wells' The Time Machine(look up Morlocks) that came out over hundred years ago and the skeleton pool is straight from the Time Machine 2002 remake. He also picked up some parts from Lovecraft's The Lurking Fear(white skinned morlocks), Beast In The Cave, and The Rat In The Walls.

  3. Dude, trust me--I so understand that the concept of humanity devolving into barely sentient cannibals is a concept that goes back centuries. What bothers me about the iteration in Pandorum is that the film owes so much in the look of the creatures and the set pieces in the plot itself that it's hard not to acknowledge how much Alvart took from Marshall's superior film.

  4. Actually, the set pieces of the plot derived from works such as Metamorphosis Alpha which was about a generation spaceship fulled with mutated creatures. There is also The Starlost, Space 1999 to 2099: MISSION OF THE DARIAN, Doctor Who's The Ark In Space, Ben Croshaw's 1213, The Wreck of the BSM Pandora, and Orphans Of The Sky that make up the film's premise. There are also alot of strong religious and mythological overtones in there (Google Pandorum mythology chapter).

    Remember how Marshall's homage flick Doomsday was like Resident Evil, Road Warrior and Escape From N.Y having a threesome? Apparently, the producers of Resident Evil wanted to wink right back at him, well at least that's what I think. Some of the Pandorum posters resembles the Doomsday posters. There is also the fact that the monsters are in Mad Maxish clothing and the other ship "Eden" is obviously named after Eden Sinclair. Same thing with Eden Log another Resident Evil-ish film. But that kid looks more like the classic grey alien when a crawler.

  5. You might be interested in this write up of mine about the symbolism present within the context of the film.


  6. Both the creatures in Pandorum and The Descent look alike due to their conditions being very similar. Both conditions lacked sunlight so it made sense for them to be pale. People often say that Neil Marshall owes so much to Jeff Long's The Descent due the similarities in the premise and the used of pale skinned carnivorous creatures that evolved from human.


    Marshall's creatures also share many characteristics with the monsters in the 1994 film adaptation of HP Lovecraft's "The Lurking Fear". However, I see both Pandorum and The Descent as different takes on an old monster tropes like most vampire books,games, and films.