Review in a Hurry: From the producers of the Resident Evil movies comes...a Resident Evil rip-off in space! An actual Resident Evil sequel in space would have been better—at least then we'd have Milla Jovovich to look at instead of Ben Foster.
The Bigger Picture: Take Ben Foster, have him walk slowly down a dark corridor and see something or someone in the distance, then either have him fall flat on his face, or get a butt-whippin'. Repeat approximately twenty times, tack on a climax, and you've basically got this movie.
Pandorum is set aboard one of those giant Noah's-Ark-style spaceships designed to repopulate a planet. You know the kind. It's full of vast storage rooms with of DNA samples and stuff like that, as well as cryogenically frozen crew and plenty of dripping-wet corridors with big hoses hanging ominously from the ceiling.
Somewhere on the vessel, Lieutenant Bower (Foster) awakens from his cryo-pod to find the place surprisingly empty. He has amnesia, and no idea how long he's been out for, though it appears to have been a lot longer than anticipated. When another officer named Payton (Dennis Quaid) similarly revives, the two decide they need to find the ship's generator and crank it up.
Except there's a problem: the ship is suddenly full of monsters. Picture the potential outcome of Gollum doing steroids and dressing up in Road Warrior gear, and you're close. Spiky shoulder pads are apparently as abundant on this ship as stored DNA samples, though what their use would be in repopulating a planet is beyond us.
Wisely, the movie rarely gives us a good look at the creatures, but it's not clear that that was necessarily a deliberate choice—much of the editing is confusing and unclear. We're not just talking occasional bouts of shaky-cam here, but somewhat incoherent continuity as well. The title refers to a mental disorder caused by long stretches in space, and the movie appears to be trying to inflict it upon us.
En route to the reactor, we meet a few other crew members who have gone into survivalist mode, among them Norman Reedus and Twilight's Cam Gigandet, who appears to be doing a pretty good impersonation of Hayden Christensen and his whiny, pouty tantrum style of acting.
Mostly, though, it's a tedious trip. Another corridor, another metal grate, more tubes, etc. We know there has to be a plot of some sort to ultimately explain things, but director Christian Alvart (Antibodies) certainly makes us wait for it. And while the climax actually is interesting, and most likely used up 90 percent of the special-effects budget, it can't really redeem the rest.
The 180—a Second Opinion: There probably won't be a sequel, but if there is, it has a decent shot at being a lot better, given the direction the story ultimately takes.
Dennis Quaid stars in Pandorum, but his brother made headlines this week. See why in our Mug-Shot Mania gallery