New Review: Pandorum

Pandorum was a nice surprise. I'm always in a good mood when I "accidentally" watch a post-apocalyptic movie. See, I just set out to watch what I thought was going to be a horror movie, or at least a "run from the monster" movie. So, I was delighted when I found out it was post-apocalyptic. Unlike the old me, I'm trying not to drop spoilers these days, so I'll be slightly general in this review. But, I'm much more sober than I used to be, so I might be accidentally more helpful as well.

Anyway, Pandorum features Dennis Quaid and Ben Foster as two crewmates who awaken from cryogenic slumber into a real shitshow. The mission of their ship (The Elysium) is to act as a seedship to colonize an earth-like planet. The earth, itself, is pretty much already ruined when they launch the Elysium, so it's the last hope for humanity. Anyway, they can't remember anything, everything is pretty much broken and... they aren't alone.

While I was watching this movie, I was trying to think what it reminded me. Sure, the comparison to Alien and Event Horizon are sort of obvious, but I was thinking more of sci-fi stories where an entire population is on some sort of world-ship or seed-ship and something goes wrong along the way. At first I was reminded of Phillip K. Dick's Maze of Death.  But, I knew there was something I'd read that was even more closely related.  So, I waded through my bookshelves this morning and turned up Starship by Brian W. Aldiss.

Now, it's been some years since I've read Starship, but I remember it being very similar to Pandorum.  In Starship, entire sections of the ship have grown over into lush jungle and the humans aboard have de-evolved into superstitious primates.  Anyway, there were a lot of similarities.

So, back to Pandorum.  Did I like it?  Sure.  Why?  Well, there aren't that many post-apocalyptic movies that take place entirely aboard a spacecraft, so that was nice.  Also, I went into it expecting very little.  It's like when I buy a pulp sci-fi book at the used book store based entirely on the cover.  I'm not expecting Foundation or Left Hand of Darkness, I just want it to keep me interested.  And Pandorum this and more.  I would have liked slightly less martial arts (if I can get picky) but there were plenty of other interesting aspects of the movie that allowed me to overlook some of the combat scenes.  (For example, one of the kill scenes is freaking brutal!)

Note: Anyway, as a result of watching, I'm not slightly obsessed about other sci-fi movies and books that share a similar concept.  So, if any of you guys can think of other examples, please let me know.  I'm remembering an  Ursula K. Lequin short short where it takes generations for the ship to get to the planet, but, by the time it arrives, no one wants to be explorers anymore.  They are all scared of the anything outside of the ship, but I can't remember the name of that.

Pandorum [Blu-ray] Pandorum [Blu-ray]

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