Welcome to what will surely be the first of many smaller reviews designed just for readers of the Film Sack site. The movies covered in these small reviews are films that are fresh in theaters, other stuff we find online, and movies that will probably never be covered on the Film Sack podcast.
I’m always looking for science fiction, even the crappy stuff. It seems like more and more, we have less and less coming to theaters every year, so I tend to savor whatever I can get my hands on.
Enter 2009’s, “Pandorum”. Being a huge fan of both Dennis Quaid and Ben Foster (especially Foster…that guy does great work in everything he’s hired on), I figured this movie might just be what my sad little ScFi missing heart could use.
Did it work out? Sort of. It’s kind of garbage on a bunch of levels, but also sports a pretty sweet look and tone. The acting is earnest, with the notable exception of Antje Traue, who does her best to imitate Jean Claude Van Damme for most of the 1 hour and 48 minute running time.
You know what? These reviews will never be about all the traditional elements such as plot, acting, and all that poop. These Film Sack reviews will be about the things we as Film Sackers want in our movies. Great deaths, cheesy lines, crummy special effects, and weird connections to other films and people. With that in mind, lets see how it held up to our admittedly loose standards.
There is no doubt, this is a science fiction film. The ship is as much a character as anyone else. What kind of ship? The kind that shares a rich heritage with stuff like Alien, Event Horizon, Dead Space, etc. Gritty, yet futuristic, I think it’s one of the strong points of the film. It’s home to some harrowing chases, doors shutting before they should, hidden corridors, even a garbage level. (4.5 / 5)
What’s a good SciFi film without some good crappy dialogue between friends? This movie has its fair share, but could have benefited from a lest earnest approach to the material by the screenwriters. (2 / 5)
Seems like just about any movie made in the last decade or so can look good in this department without all that much effort. The alien costumes and effects were good, the weapon stuff was alright, and the sense of scale and depth on the ship was surely helped along from some solid CGI work. That being said, the strength of the effects was found mostly in the practical stuff. (Blood, makeup, costumes, etc.) Overall, a good looking film. That last moments of the movie are a bit too video game looking for my taste, but hey, sometimes that works. (See 300 for example.) (3.5 / 5)
Some pretty grizzly stuff here. Not to spoil too much, but the ship is basically overrun with a sort of space vampire race that rips you to shreds on sight. They are a bit reminiscent of the Reavers in Firefly / Serenity, which means some sped up film, violent editing, and an all around visceral treatment. Best death though? Hypodermic needle to the eyeball. Boom. (3.5 / 5)
A movie like this is trying to hard to be taken seriously, and coming up short to any serious scrutiny. As a result, the camp is hard to find. How will it hold up in that department 50 years from now? Hard to say, but I don’t think anyone will remember it much. (2.5 / 5)
THE LITTLE THINGS:
The following touches were appreciated: Claustrophobia inducing escape pods. Bad guys what look like the zombie aliens in the Resistance games on the PS3. (Spiked backs and all.) Ben Foster getting the wind knocked out of him 6 or more times, I lost count. Creepy alien babies. Cool future tech that gets dirty and grimy. (3 / 5)
While this is no District 9 by any stretch, there is some fun to be had here. Get it streaming on Netflix while it lasts, and see for yourself. Overall Rating: 3.5 / 5
– Reviewed by Scott Johnson