2009 Running time: 108 Certificate: 15 Rating: 3

Synopsis

Slick sci-fi thriller following the doomed voyage of the spaceship Elysium, a vast craft acting as a hi-tech Noah's Ark for the last remnants of the human race. Dennis Quaid and Ben Foster are the flight crew who wake up from hyper-sleep only to discover something terrible happened on the gigantic people carrier during the 125 years they slept. Venturing into the dank belly of the craft to investigate, they find they are not alone. German director Christian Alvart has fashioned a chilling galactic horror distinguished by a nifty twist.

Director

  • Christian Alvart

Cast

  • Dennis Quaid

  • Ben Foster

  • Cam Gigandet

  • Norman Reedus

Review

Pandorum is another word for the psychological condition Orbital Dysfunctional Syndrome, a sort of interplanetary case of the vapours triggered by the profound loneliness of space.

Someone on the not-so-good spaceship Elysium has got it which spells trouble for the rest of the passengers struggling to survive as the sufferer of the God-complex gradually goes tonto.

This is merely one strand of German director Christian Alvart's handsomely mounted sci-fi thriller. Unfortunately, this one little interesting plotline gets snared in story of dull formula borrowing all-too-freely from everyone from Ridley Scott to Neil Marshall.

Dennis Quaid and Ben Foster play a couple of amnesiac astronauts who groggily awake from hyper-sleep and gradually figure out that they're aboard the Elysium.

Unsteadily piecing together the past, they work out that the ship is carrying the remnants of the human race and was on course for a planet identified as a suitable replacement for Earth.

Striking out into the vast, dripping reaches of the apparently abandoned ship, Corporal Bower (Foster) narrowly escapes a mutant armed with a fearsome array of blades and an unhealthy taste for human flesh.

He also discovers that two fellow astronauts - Antje Traue's scientist Nadia and Cung Le's commando Manh - have also been awake for months and living in fear in the sodden bowels of the vessel.

Back in the ops room, Dennis Quaid's commander Payton sets a course for Bower and his new allies to get to the ship's reactor and crank it up again. However, they've got to get past the army of mutant cannibals first.

We've all seen this spacecraft before - from Alien's Nostromo to the diabolic Event Horizon (which was directed by Pandorum producer Paul WS Anderson) - welcome to a world of gloomy, dank corridors and knackered steel walkways.

It's a competent if unoriginal adventure but you do wish Alvart had had the courage of his convictions to go with the Pandorum idea rather bowing to the pressure of convention and basically resetting The Descent in space.

Now that would have been opening a real Pandorum's box.

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