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 . . . .