This movie was trashed by so many people I respect that I never even bothered with it.

But Jeff Vandermeer’s post from earlier this week made me change my mind. And I’m on a semi-nocturnal schedule right now, so it seemed only fitting to fire up a movie about space zombies at an hour when the only sound I can hear is that of the cats.

At least, I hope they’re cats. I don’t dare turn around to find out.

But vis-a-vis Pandorum . . . I loved it.  Plain and simple, I fucking loved it.  I forgot the lesson I learnt with the (astoundingly underrated) 13th Warrior back in 1999. . . never mind what everybody says. . . even if it made only five dollars at the box office . . . if it looks intriguing, go for it.  This is the movie that EVENT HORIZON should have been . .not a plunge into actual metaphysical evil, but rather a Heart of Darkness journey into just what depths people can sink to when they’re cut off from all else.

Some of you had problems with the mutants.  I didn’t.  Like Vandermeer, I ain’t going to parse the science of it. . but those of you have trashed the mutants, please forward me your withering critique of Joss Whedon’s Reavers (whose asses Pandorum would CONSUME), and I’ll be satisfied that you’re being consistent.  Meanwhile, I’m focused on the topography of that spaceship . . the scariest HR Giger acid-trip outside of Switzerland you’re gonna see. And a fitting backdrop to the story, which was a stripped-down mix of in-your-face action and backstory revelation.  There’s such gold in the generation-starship-meme that it’s a wonder it hasn’t been done more often in cinema—I’d love to see Baxter’s “Mayflower II” and Aldriss’ Nonstop, in particular.

Though I suppose the real reason we haven’t had more of them is budget vs. accessibility.  Pandorum cost 40 million to make, and clawed back less than half of that.  It’s tough to make something *so* sci-fi and dark appealing to the broader market, and once the core SF audience had turned against it, Pandorum was as screwed as most of its passengers.  Meanwhile, I’m perusing the script to see if I can uncover any “director’s cut” moments.  But the noises behind me are getting closer . . . .

9 Responses to “Pandorum”

  1. tps Says:

    Stephen Baxter’s latest “Ark” is mostly set on a generational starship too. Its a sequel to “Flood” where the planet became a water world. And no, global warming wasn’t the cause!

  2. Jeff VanderMeer Says:

    Glad you liked it as much as I did. What’s funny is Ann and I *love* The 13th Warrior and still can’t believe that more people don’t, or that it got trashed by reviewers on release.


  3. Erik Says:

    Thank you for reminding me about Pandorum. I had wanted to see this in theaters hoping it would be at least on par with Event Horizon.. and then missed it completely. As to 13th Warrior, I think that’s quite possibly the best movie of it’s genre since the original Conan.

  4. David Williams Says:

    I’m with you guys. . .and I should probably do a separate post on 13th Warrior–in fact, it’s high time I watched it again. One of my favorite movies EVAH.

    “Close to land? This is no time to be CLOSE TO LAND!!! BWWAHAHAAHAHAA!!”

  5. AlexJCavanaugh Says:

    I caught Pandorum in the theater and was not disappointed! Lots of atmosphere. I thought The Thirteenth Warrior was excellent as well. Just watched it the other day on one of the movie channels.

    Thank you so much for commenting on my blog, David! I am looking forward to reading The Machinery of Light when it is released in May. The cover art is amazing as well and I’d included it a few weeks ago in a post about incredible science fiction book covers.

  6. David J. Williams Says:

    Thanks Alex. . yeah, I’ve been blessed with some amazing covers. . . looking forward to seeing your book this fall . . . !

  7. Jess Horsley Says:

    Pick up the Blu-ray of Pandorum now at this week only for $10 – it’s a steal. I bought it at full price – $27.99 – and love it. There are some interesting special features on the blu-ray, including a short featuring some alternative crew members searching for life on the ship, etc – great stuff.

    On a side note, I don’t listen to any critics or friends anymore – if a movie looks like something I’d like, I pick it up or see it. Example: Outlander. I heard so many bad things about it and considering it was delayed and delayed and then didn’t make it to theaters anywhere near me (St Louis), I was a bit skeptical, but the vikings/outer space thing had me hooked and as soon as it was out on DVD I bought it…and loved it! Follow your instincts and see what you like – screw the critics!

  8. Al Billings Says:

    I’m going to watch this on your recommendation. I’d better be happy!

  9. David J. Williams Says:

    And if you’re not, then you already have a Designated Scapegoat!

    let me know what u think . .