Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Christian Alvart|
|Produced by||Paul W. S. Anderson |
|Written by||Travis Milloy |
|Starring||Dennis Quaid |
|Music by||Michl Britsch|
|Cinematography||Wedigo von Schultzendorff|
|Editing by||Philipp Stahl|
|Studio||Constantin Film |
|Distributed by||Overture Films|
|Release date(s)|| |
|Running time||108 minutes|
Pandorum is a 2009 science fiction thriller film written by Travis Milloy, directed by Christian Alvart and produced by Paul W.S. Anderson. The film stars Dennis Quaid and Ben Foster. Filming began in Berlin in August 2008. Pandorum was released on September 25, 2009 in the United States, and on October 2, 2009 in the UK. The film's title refers to a fictional psychological condition of astronauts who fly through deep space.
As the story opens, a Corporal Bower (Ben Foster) and a Lieutenant Payton (Dennis Quaid) wake up from hypersleep aboard the sleeper ship Elysium. The ship is on a mission from an overpopulated Earth to the earth-like extrasolar planet Tanis on a colonizing mission. With no recent memory and the ship racked by power surges from its unstable reactor, Payton sends Bower to stabilize the reactor, since his position and latent memories imply that he is an engineer. While making his way through the ship, Bower finds emaciated corpses, pools of blood, and has to avoid strange, pale humanoid beasts who use bladed weapons and lassos to catch and kill their prey. He also finds several people who had been awake far longer than he and Payton, including a German genetic engineer named Nadia (Antje Traue) and an agricultural expert named Manh (Cung Le). During his journey, Bower experiences the physical symptoms of a mental disorder encountered in long periods of space travel, called 'Pandorum'. At one point, Payton tells of a prior case where the captain of a passenger ship went mad with the syndrome and, believing the flight was cursed, ejected all the passengers and himself into space, dooming them all. On the flight deck, Payton discovers another crew member, Corporal Gallo (Cam Gigandet), who reveals that he was part of the flight crew that received a final message from Earth, saying that the planet had been destroyed and the only hope for humanity was the Elysium. He claims that his other two crew mates suffered from an onset of Pandorum, and that he had to kill them in self-defense. Payton is wary of Gallo, noting his strange behavior. It is eventually shown that Gallo has Pandorum and is dangerously insane.
Avoiding the creatures, Bower, Manh and Nadia find their way into an enclosed area where another survivor, a cook named Leland (Eddie Rouse) lives. While gassing his visitors with the purpose of using them as food, Leland tells them the origins of the ships and the creatures, using drawn murals on the walls; after the final message from Earth was received, one of the flight crew killed his two crew-mates, eventually sinking into a delusion that he was the king of the ship, which some would view as both God and the Devil. The murals on the walls depict the survivor as well as other passengers on the ship with lightning bolts around their heads and blood dripping from their noses suggesting that they developed Pandorum. The insane passengers ended up playing a sadistic game that involved them fighting for survival in the cargo hold of the ship and feeding on the weak, all on behalf of their 'god'. Eventually bored with his game, the survivor went into hypersleep while the insane passengers continued to practice cannibalistic games with each other. Eventually, because of a special enzyme given to the passengers during hypersleep to help them adapt to conditions on Tanis, the survivors' descendants evolved into the savage creatures that now roam the ship, still fighting and feeding on the weak (both normal humans and their own kind).
While Payton tries to keep Gallo under control, even sealing him inside a hibernation pod, Bower convinces Leland to keep them alive so they can reboot the reactor and save the ship from destruction. They manage this, barely, and begin to make their way to the bridge, when Manh is wounded by a child creature. Manh manages to kill their leader (André Hennicke) before dying himself. On the bridge, after Payton injects Gallo with a sedative during a fight, the shocking truth is revealed; Payton is Gallo. He had lost all his memories during his hibernation, but regains them after injecting himself during his delirium. He then kills Leland, who arrives before the others. When Bower and Nadia arrive, Payton admits his actions and tries to make Bower succumb to Pandorum by showing him where the Elysium is now: it crashed on Tanis, and is now lying in the alien world's ocean; the 123-year mission has extended into 923 years. As Payton rants about building a new humanity within the ship that practices cannibalism (to avoid the overpopulation problem that beset Earth) and Bower fights his descent into madness, Nadia attacks Payton, but he easily defeats her. Bower manages to overcome his condition and breaks the window of the ship, getting himself and Nadia into a hibernation pod. The break in the window floods the bridge and triggers a hull breach emergency and the ship ejects the pods of everyone who is still alive, while Payton and the creatures are killed as the ship is flooded. The final shot shows the pods surfacing and opening, then the camera zooms out to a view of Tanis, an Earth-like planet with two moons. A title card appears displaying: "Tanis, Year One: Population 1,213..."
- Dennis Quaid as Lieutenant Payton
- Ben Foster as Corporal Bower
- Cam Gigandet as Corporal Gallo
- Antje Traue as Nadia
- Cung Le as Manh
- Eddie Rouse as Leland
- André Hennicke as Hunter Leader
- Norman Reedus as Shepard
- Wotan Wilke Möhring as Young Bower's Father
- Niels-Bruno Schmidt as Insane Officer Eden
The film began life as a preliminary script written by Travis Milloy in the late-1990s. The spaceship the story was set entirely on was originally a prison ship named Pandorum, transporting thousands of Earth's deadliest prisoners to another planet; the cannibal-hunters were what the prisoners degenerated into. The characters played by Antje Traue and Cung Le were inmates. Ben Foster's character was a non-prisoner who did not trust anyone.
Believing no studio would want to make the film, Milloy thought about making it as a low-budget film shot on video in an abandoned paper mill with unknown actors. However, it attracted filmmaker Paul W. S. Anderson and Jeremy Bolt's attention, and they gave it to Impact Pictures, who green-lit it. The producers gave the script to director Christian Alvart who was struck by the similarities to his own screenplay titled No Where. His dramatic story was about four astronauts aboard a settlers' ship who suffer from amnesia. Alvart decided that they should weld the two screenplays together, and the producers and Milloy agreed. With the ship now changed to a settler's ship, the use of the word Pandorum was changed from being used as the name of the ship to the nickname of the titular cabin fever the characters begin to suffer from.
Pandorum was announced in May 2008 with Dennis Quaid and Ben Foster in lead roles. Christian Alvart was attached to direct the film, based on a script by Travis Milloy. The movie was financed by Constantin Film through a joint venture deal with subsidiary Impact Pictures. The partnership helped fund the $40 million production. Constantin drew subsidies from Germany's Medienboard Berlin-Brandenburg (MBB) regional film fund, the German Federal Film Board (FFA) and the German Federal Film Fund (DFFF). The German Federal Film Fund provided $6 million to the production, the fund's second-largest 2008 payout after $7.5 million for Ninja Assassin. Filming took place at Babelsberg Studios in Potsdam in August 2008.
According to the bonus content on the DVD, Christian Alvart had claimed that he approached the film as an allegory for human life on Earth. The ship is addressed as its own world twice in the film, especially in its backstory, as told by Eddie Rouse's character, which is spoken with a strong mythological tone that involved the presence of a god/devil-like figure responsible for the "evils" in that world and the degradation of the human condition, somewhat similar to the stories in the poems Works and Days and Paradise Lost. The film's title also appears to be derived from two names that are present in the poems, Pandora and Pandæmonium.
Another mythological reference is the name of the ship, Elysium, which was the resting place for heroes in classical mythology that bordered the River Lethe, the part of the underworld where the memories of "earthly lives" were erased so that souls could be reincarnated – similar to how the characters on board the Elysium mostly have no memory of their lives on Earth and are even referred to as "heroes". Another reference to the underworld is the Hunter lair that Leland calls "Hell itself", which resembles The Third Circle of Hell that Dante Alighieri crossed during his journey through Hell into the "Earthly Paradise" in The Divine Comedy. Additionally, the poem also mentions Elysium, a man looking for his lost love and confronts the Devil, and also features people swimming in blood.
Summit Entertainment handled foreign sales and presented Pandorum to buyers at the 2009 Cannes Film Festival. Overture Films distributed Pandorum in North America, Icon in the United Kingdom and Australia, Svensk in Scandinavia, and Movie Eye in Japan. The film was set up as a possible franchise, so that if it performed well, Impact Pictures could green-light one or more sequels.
The director and producer commentaries on the DVD indicate that an unrated version of the movie exists but has not been released.
The film received mostly mixed to negative reviews from critics. Review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes reports the film as holding a 28% approval rating based on 80 reviews. The site's consensus is that "While it might prove somewhat satisfying for devout sci-fi fans, Pandorum's bloated, derivative plot ultimately leaves it drifting in space." At Metacritic, which judges on a 0–100 scale, the film holds a "generally unfavorable" score of 28 based on 13 reviews. Science fiction magazine SFX was more positive, stating that "Pandorum is the finest interstellar horror in years", and awarding the film 4 stars out of 5. Film Ireland also gave Pandorum a positive review, appreciating the film's synergy of cinematic techniques, set design, and developed characters.
The film grossed $20,645,327 worldwide, therefore failing to bring back its $33 million budget. The film opened at #6 at the US box office with weekend receipts totaling $4,424,126.
|Soundtrack album by Michl Britsch|
|Released||September 25, 2009|
|Label||Königskinder Schallplatten GmbH|
- "All That Is Left of Us" (2:43)
- "Pandorum" (3:58)
- "Anti Riot" (4:17)
- "Shape" (2:03)
- "Hunting Party" (2:48)
- "Kulzer Complex" (4:40)
- "Tanis Probe Broadcast" (2:01)
- "Scars" (2:20)
- "Fucking Solidarity" (3:28)
- "Gallo's Birth" (2:22)
- "Biolab Attack" (2:25)
- "Kanyrna" (3:22)
- "The Stars All Look Alike" (4:32)
- "Boom" (3:55)
- "Reactor" (4:08)
- "Skin on Skin" (3:21)
- "Fight Fight Fight" (2:56)
- "Bower's Trip" (7:51)
- "Discovery / End Credits" (7:55)
 See also
- Lovecraftian horror
- Hull Zero Three
- Orphans of the Sky
- Non-Stop (originally titled Starship)
- Metamorphosis Alpha
- The Ark in Space
- The Starlost
- Ship of Fools (Russo novel)
- "Pandorum". Box Office Mojo. http://boxofficemojo.com/movies/?id=pandorum.htm. Retrieved 2011-09-20.
- "Pandorum". ComingSoon.net. Coming Soon Media, L.P. http://www.comingsoon.net/films.php?id=41441. Retrieved 2009-06-25.
- McNary, Dave (May 8, 2008). "Quaid, Foster set for 'Pandorum'". Variety. http://www.variety.com/article/VR1117985339.html?categoryid=1238&cs=1. Retrieved August 8, 2008.
- Roxborough, Scott (November 7, 2008). "Impact finds $40 mil to make 'Pandorum'". The Hollywood Reporter. http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/hr/content_display/film/news/e3i431ca797a370fbb2a3ea2b9931986666. Retrieved December 1, 2008.
- Koehl, Christian (August 5, 2008). "'Pandorum' secures German funds". Variety. http://www.variety.com/article/VR1117990076.html?categoryid=13&cs=1. Retrieved August 8, 2008.
- The official Pandorum movie site
- "First Word on Pandorum Home Video Release". http://www.dreadcentral.com/news/34552/exclusive-shock-festival-wallpapers-and-radio-spots.
- Pandorum at Rotten Tomatoes
- "Pandorum". Metacritic. http://www.metacritic.com/film/titles/pandorum. Retrieved 2009-10-14.
- McGlynn, Jack (October 29, 2009). "Pandorum Review". Film Ireland. http://www.filmireland.net/2009/10/29/pandorum/. Retrieved 2009-11-01.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to: Pandorum|
- Official website
- Pandorum at the Internet Movie Database
- Pandorum at AllRovi
- Pandorum at Rotten Tomatoes