"PANDORUM" offers moments which could lead the viewer to anticipate "inspired" events to follow, transcending the sci-fi genre, in a manner comparable to what the original "ALIEN" film managed to do. However, while Director Christian Alvert knows how to create an engrossing environment, there's nothing original, anywhere, to be found within the entire film. Unlike Alvert's vastly superior thriller, "CASE 39," in which he accomplished taking an often revisited storyline, and managing to still make it feel compelling, ...not the case with "PANDORUM!"
Set in 2174, due to Earth's population achieving the breaking point for survival, due to limited resources, a starship "ELYSIUM," has been loaded with over 50,000 inhabitants, with the objective to reach a distant planet with an environment comparable to Earth, named Tanis. The human cargo has been placed in "cryo-sleep" to handle the long journey, and Corporal Bower(Ben Foster) has been awakened from his cryo-sleep, with a case of apparent amnesia, unaware of his own identity or where he is. (If only the viewer had that same luxury, being unaware of every better film this one borrows from!) Alongside Lieutenant Payton(Dennis Quaid), Bower, also a victim of amnesia, the duo are trapped within a secluded, non-operational room of the ship. The film's drama is built around their attempts to reach the operational bridge, and figure out what's happened to the crew, unable to be reached, they're supposed to be relieving of duty upon their emergence from sleep.
Like the original "THE POSEIDON ADVENTURE," the quest to make it successfully, to the part of the ship, which hopefully offers salvation, is the crux of the film's narrative. Unfortunately, the trials and tribulations that are visited upon the duo are neither compelling or even slightly re-envisioned.
While the film's final moments offered a glimmer of inspiration, sadly missing from the rest of the film, it's not enough to save it from the boredom preceding it.
However, ANCHOR BAY/STARZ does deserve great praise for the care given to the film's presentation! The film's color palette is typically, intentionally subdued. Even with the darkened look of the majority of scenes, detail is magnificent. Colors, while never vibrant, feel correct, and the inky blacks present depth to scenes one should expect to be completely flat. The intricate details of an elaborate production design are consistently visible, never compromised by shadow.
The Dolby TrueHD 5.1 mix is also outstanding! From beginning to end, the surrounds are aggressive, without ever becoming overblown, and adding to any minor successful tension within the film's consistently dragging pace. The bass effects are also used with impact, although never overshadowing other nuances within the mix. A reference quality mix!
ANCHOR BAY/STARZ has included some notable extras. A commentary with Alvart and the film's producer may impress fans of the film, with plenty of production detail. However, it's not a generally entertaining track for non-fans of the film, as some commentary tracks succeed in doing for inferior films. Three featurettes(1080p)offer interviews, behind-the-scenes footage and clips.
Deleted scenes(1080p)are actually the best offering among the extras, and worth watching. A trailer for "PANDORUM" and other upcoming releases(1080p) are also worth watching. A Digital copy of the film(WINDOWS only)is provided.