The Christian Alvart directed and Travis Milloy scripted Sci fi psychological drama/action film premiered last Friday and after the disappointment "Surrogates" turned out to be I sincerely hoped that "Pandorum" would be better. Maybe I'd actually care about what happened to these characters for a change? Maybe this story will actually be somewhat compelling? Not only has this year been one wrought with tragedy of a human nature but it's been full of terrible films. I honestly can't recall a weaker crop of blockbuster films in a movie season off hand. C'mon Pandorum!
The story opens with Corporal Bower awakening from cryogenic slumber aboard a spaceship created specifically to terraform another planet that can support human life. Humans ultimately overran Earth and used up all of it's natural resources. The Earth was experiencing serious climate issues and on the verge of dying when another Earth like world was discovered by probe. A spaceship called Elysium containing thousands of humans, a crew & numerous samples of life from Earth were sent to the future home of humanity. Only one problem..Bower isn't aware of any of these things at the moment he awakens. He doesn't even know his own name.
Bower takes a while to combat his body rebelling against him and a serious case of memory loss. Luckily for him, he has his CO Payton who just woke up as well. Together they try to piece together who they are, what their individual jobs are and assess how to get out of the room they're stuck in and where the hell is the Elysium. Since the ship is having power surges, it's clear that they need to find a way to the reactor and discover what the hell happened to the rest of Elysium's crew. Not only that but how long have they been in flight?
Payton and Bower devise a plan. Bower will try to sneak out to the other sectors of the ship and with the guidance of Payton from the deck, he'll find his way to the reactor core. Re-cycle the ship's power and from there they can figure everything else out. Bower manages to find his way onto other parts of the ship but he discovers that everything is completely fucked up. He's supposed to be part of the 5th flight crew of the Elysium that were supposed to each work in two year shifts. Bower discovers that people that were supposed to be on flight crew rotations after his shift have already have awakened and are on the ship. What the fuck is going on?
While we're on the subject of "What the fuck is going on?" it seems that there's a deep seeded psychological side effect of being awakened from hypersleep during space travel called "Pandorum". The symptoms are varied but you often don't realize that you're suffering from it, someone else has to tell you. Problem is, when you're suffering from pandorum you tend to become completely paranoid and think that everyone else has it but you. Then you go into a completely bloody murderous rage and kill everyone around you. Sometimes, you just kill yourself. Fun times, huh?
Bower discovers a few other survivors on board then discovers that things have gone horribly awry on board the Elysium. For one, they're getting attacked by some hybrid mutant creatures that feed on the other human survivors that have recently awoken from hypersleep. The ship's turned into "Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome" and everyone is fighting for their own individual survival. Bower manages to forge an alliance between himself and two others, Manh and Nadia. They watch each other's back in hopes of making it to the reactor core in time to save the ship & the rest of the thousands of humans onboard that have yet to wake from cryogenic hypersleep.
Along the way they find Leland, a Black guy who apparently has been awake for a long ass time and has survived long enough to piece together a significant amount of history together culled from the ship's history in transit. He makes a bunch of revelations that add to the overall suspense of the film and eventually they all make their way to the reactor core in hopes of getting the ship's power issues handled so we can get to the big reveals. I was literally on the edge of my seat during the last 45 minutes of this film.
"Pandorum" finally managed to deliver in a stretch of films where I had sit through clusterfuck upon shit sandwich week in and week out. Let's recap, shall we? "Knowing?" Yawn. "Fast & Furious"? Shit. "X-Men Origins: Wolverine"? Shit. "Terminator: Salvation"? Shit. "The Taking Of Pelham 1 2 3"? Yawn. "Transformers: Revenge Of The Fallen"? Shit. "G.I. Joe: The Revenge Of Cobra"? Flaming hot garbage. "Gamer"? Trash. "Whiteout"? Garbage. "Surrogates"? Fuck outta here! At least after I finished seeing "Pandorum" I said to myself "I can't wait to see this jawn on Blu-Ray". I give "Pandorum" a mos def because I'm grading on a curve.