By the 22nd century, Earth hasn’t been completely ravaged by nuclear weapons or our own ecological arrogance. Instead the quagmire is a more plausible one. We’ve reaching the tipping point of overpopulation and via a galactic ark, we must colonize another planet for the teeming human inhabitants. The crew member on Elysium are awoken from cryogenic sleep in shifts but a transmission from our solar system is funereal (“You’re all that’s left of us.”). If nothing else, Pandorum has an extraordinary kernel at the center of it.
The production design is also boundlessly all-encompassing with Corporal Bower (Ben Foster) in a cocoon of mucus-like film over his skin before he scuttles around the sultry ship in search of comrades. He shaves with a laser. Courses can be mapped on a touch screen navigator. All the tubular details are multifaceted, futuristic devices and director Christian Alvart compresses our hearts with the setting’s claustrophobia and abstruse mystery about the multicultural crew’s (the agriculturist speaks Vietnamese which cannot be translated by Bower) status reports.
The amnesia fugue of Bower and Peyton (Dennis Quaid) is a crutch but it is inseminated with several asterisks for the breadcrumb trail ahead. Alvart doesn’t replicate his peers’ penchant for obligatory jump scares such as when Bower tumbles down a shaft next to a corpse and he barely grunts at its existence. The spiked, albino creatures aren’t a cryptic whistleblower secret either as they assault Bower within the first twenty minutes. They clearly aren’t a symptom of Orbital Dysfunction Syndrome.
However, their overall countenances are disparagingly homogenized with The Descent demons except for their leaping ability. They’re not remotely scary in their gorgonized states (except for an amorphous child with black orbs for eyes). Honestly, they seem tertiary and picayune in respect to the extinction of Earth. The treacherous walk to the reactor is more daunting than the nest of cannibalistic humanoids below.
By my account, Pandorum is a vulpine, crushingly Icarian, zealously weaning sleeper with some startling concepts (the previous Eden mission was sabotaged by an irrational commander who ejected 5,000 pods to their doom) which pardon the capricious action scenes and bloated overacting from the supporting cast (Antje Traue’s faint whisper and Eddie Rouse’s raspy oddity).
Rating: 3 out of 5