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Film Two Stars
I watched the Christian Alvart film Antibodies and was totally taken in by how good the story and how well filmed it was, I thought that Alvart was heading to Hollywood, and he hinted as much after the screening, and probably to remake Antikörper or Antibodies (Filmstalker review) first of all.

However he wasn't going to remake his own film. He headed to Hollywood and started with Case 39 which struggled to get a release, and next was Pandorum, which surprisingly got a first release.

Pandorum pitched itself as a science fiction psychological horror, and it was something that I thought would have suited Alvart perfectly. I was sorely disappointed.

Plot.pngPandorum.jpgPandorum tells the story of a man who awakes from deep sleep during a long haul, deep space flight that is transporting a large group of humans to another planet capable of supporting human life. It's never fully explained, which is a nice aspect, but it seems to be an attempt to try and save what is left of humanity before something happens back on Earth.

When he awakes he realises that he seems to be the only one awake on the entire ship, and that the rotating crew that should have been there, aren't. So he manages to find another, senior, crew member and awakes him from his sleep.

However they are both stuck in a small section of the ship. To add to their problems they discover that the reactor is going to shut down and the entire ship will lose power, unless they get to the it in time and restart it.

So the junior member of the crew, played by Ben Foster, is the one that heads out to the vast ship through a tiny access tube, to make the trip down to the reactors while the senior member of the crew, played by the excellent Dennis Quaid, stays in the control room and guides him by radio.

While he's out there he realises that they aren't alone, that there are other people and other creatures around the ship, and most of them aren't friendly either.

TheFilm.pngPandorum is far from the film I had hoped to see from Christian Alvart, and there's a lot more Hollywood influence than I had hoped for and as a result the film just isn't as good as I expected.

The first thing you really notice about the film is the darkness. The film is black, really, really black. It's so dark that it was actually incredibly difficult to see what was happening during the scenes because they were just so dark.

A side effect of this is that when the characters were walking or crawling around different corridors there's no real understanding of where they are and where they are going. At times it even seems like they are moving through the same corridor we saw them in a few minutes ago, and the film loses the depth and scope of the ship in that darkness, as well as our interest.

This is made worse by the fact that there are a lot of these scenes, and after a while I just found that I was bored and confused by another dark scene of someone struggling in the blackness of what might be the same corridor/tube/whatever and it became tedious. I ended up becoming totally discontinued from what was happening, and wishing the film would move on.

Another poor aspect of the film was the action which was totally Hollywood-fied. By that I mean that, darkness aside, the fight scenes were incredibly difficult to follow and had the same feeling of being overly blocked, cut and edited. There wasn't a shaky-cam involved, but closely framed, and with too many multiple, fast paced cuts, it just made it all difficult to follow, and sorry to return to it, but mainly in darkness too. As with many Hollywood fight scenes you really have to wait until the closing moment for your mind to piece together what happened.

That pace created in the action sequences is something that holds through the entire film. It raced along, once the darker corridor wandering scenes were over with.

There were also a couple of clichés that made me groan as well, stock moments from other films that took me out of the film, moments such as the timer stopping on one second to go, or the obvious dropping of the torch and waking up all the sleeping creatures.

With the characters there was a little disappointment too, for the most part they were paper thin apart from the two leads, and even they had problems. They take to their memory loss and the problems around them easily, a lot easier than we thought they would. Wake up in a spaceship not even knowing your own name and the distinct knowledge, although I'm not sure how they did considering the memory loss, that you could have a mind altering condition much like the bends, would surely mean a greater impact on your character and the story than it did.

I expected to see a lot more scenes of the characters questioning themselves, and their memory loss, and perhaps more of the memory coming back to them. Yet the characters accepted a lot of these problems without question and just moved on.

The Dennis Quaid character had some very interesting moments later in the film, but again they didn't feel fully explored. It was handled well initially with a slow build up, but the full power of the moments didn't come across well enough and the surprises felt a little weak.

Come the ending of the film I felt that I was a little too confused by the different stories, what was happening to which character and what was forgotten about. It did become clear, but it lacked the power that it obviously should have had.

Saying that, it did strike me as a little odd that no-one on board the ship had realised what had happened. Of course it's a great thread, but I just wish it had felt more powerful and didn't have me wondering about how it would really have held up.

Another thread that doesn't quite work is the whole creature plot line, I have to admit it felt rather annoying at times, getting in the way of the actual story, although it's clear that this was set-up to do just that. However it was just dropped near the end, and there was no satisfactory resolution to it, and that felt rather irritating.

Once again though, I'm sure that if we had seen the other threads been more powerful and driven the story I might not have bothered about this so much, and indeed by the very end you don't, however there was so much invested in that thread and the overall story and there just didn't seem to be the payout required.

Overall.pngI had hoped for a lot from the Christian Alvart Pandorum, and I still have a lot of hope for Case 39, but with this film I've been rather disappointed. The film is too dark to follow, doesn't pack the punch it needs to in certain plot threads, and borrows too much from the average Hollywood film.

It has plenty of promise, but the final film just doesn't deliver it. Very disappointing considering how much I loved Antibodies.

Buy from Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com
Buy or Rent from Lovefilm
UK IMDB Film Details



I didn't find one review where reviewer at least understand completely (I mean completely) what was happening on board of the Elysium and in this film.

How did you find the film?

With glowing sticks !

Why such a question ?

You've taken the question literally. Not how did you physically find the film, but what did you think of it, what were your thoughts after watching it? Do you disagree with the critics?


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