Friday, October 28, 2011
Movie Appraisal: Pandorum (2009)
I think very obvious comparisons can be drawn to Event Horizon. Both films enjoy very similar ideas of a spacecraft dying on a mission. Paul W. S. Anderson was also attached to both films. He directed Event Horizon and he was a producer of Pandorum. The psychological horror aspects of both films are also very obvious and, to me, very well done. As a lover of the psychological horror genre, it was no hard for me to predict everything of this movie from nearly the first moment I knew what the plot was, but it was riveting, playing with twists and turns like a crazy road leading to a creepy castle. I think I prefer Event Horizon though. I think Sam Neill really made that movie into something amazing. Dennis Quaid does a good job in his role, but I feel that he never really does enough to have this be an outstanding performance. Most of the psychological horror involves his character and he never really leaves the room he starts out in. What I'm saying is that if you want a film involving space madness and you want a good actor to be the crazy dude, I'd choose Sam Neill over Dennis Quaid every time.
The plot is basic at best, but a basic plot is still interesting. I find this film to pretty much be something like Event Horizon mixed with Mad Max (1979) and maybe having a little bit of some kind of creepy alien or monster movie in there for good measure. It's a good film with a simple premise. The actors are decent although there were times I had trouble figuring out what they were trying to say or do. I felt some of the characters motivations were spotty at best sometimes, and some of the solutions to plot points seems a little forced at times.
Any movie that deals with amnesia is always a tough one to sell. I thought this one did a good job though... kind of in the same way I thought Unknown (2006) did a decent job with the same kind of plot point. I did have to question a few things at the end, but a character actually questioned a plot hole for me, and really received no good answer. So,what I'm going to believe is that the filmmakers saw the plot hole, put the line in, and then just figured it was all cool. All right. I have no real complaints. It had bothered me before it was questioned, but having the question out there, even if the plot hole remains, makes me feel better.
I guess I have a thing for movies about dead ships, be they actual boats or spaceships. I never knew I actually had a thing for movies like that, but it really seems as though I do. I really did enjoy this film. It captivated me from start to finish. If you've ever seen Event Horizon and you liked it, you'll like this film because it's more of the same kind of thing. If you hated Event Horizon or Ghost Ship or hate the whole premise of these kinds of movies, then you're going to hate this film, guaranteed. I really liked this film. It was fun to watch and I'm glad I did get to see it.
I do have one other complaint and that's the monster/alien/mutant... things. I liked them, but I liked seeing less of them. I like the less is more style of filmmaking, and I feel that showing us these things all over the place in the second half of the film wasn't as interesting as not really seeing them and not knowing what they are like in the first half. I think that's just a personal preference though. They did look pretty damn creepy and I thought they worked well as primary antagonists, although I think that I would have rather had more explained about them or less... it felt like the filmmakers took a very middle ground and it kind of ended up with me being kind of confused and wondering exactly what was going on.
Anyway, I did like this film. I thought it was fun. It may not be the best film ever, but some of the scenes are incredibly memorable. One in particular occurs during the end with the main character, Corporal Bower (played by Ben Foster), doing some shenanigans very near a bunch of the creatures. I liked that scene a lot, thought it was very tense, very fun to watch... and I guess that's really all I can say about this film. It's a nice science fiction, psychological horror film that's fun to watch. It's never going to be the best film ever, but it works as a fun little horror flick to make one happy in these interesting days.