I had to go see Pandorum.  Sure, the release date was moved around time and time again, but the trailer had all kinds of things to interest me – outer space, some kind of scary thing, possible insanity, and so forth.

 

The beginning premise is fairly simple.  Earth is overpopulated; we’re all gonna die; we found another planet that can support human life; this ship is our last chance at the survival of the human race.  No pressure, or anything.

 

I will say that the very beginning part of it was terrifying to me.  And I don’t mean that in the horror movie sense – I’d compare it to the first time I saw Alien on the big screen.  It’s dark.  Technology isn’t stylized or pretty.  You know something bad is happening, but you don’t know what it is or how bad it is.  And when I saw the theater re-release of Alien, I’d already seen the movie on DVD, so it wasn’t like I didn’t know what was coming.  This time, I wasn’t so sure.  So yes, Pandorum starts out with a very Alien feel, which I enjoyed.  That sort of cinematic touch is missing from most science fiction films that have been released in the past handful of years.

 

SOME SPOILERS FOLLOW

 

 

 

Naturally, after you see the baddies they aren’t as scary.  The unknown is always creepier than whatever mangled, disturbing creature a filmmaker can imagine.  But oh, they are still creepy.  On top of that, there’s the fact that this “Pandorum” phenomenon is known to exist – Our Hero flat-out says at one point that he isn’t sure if he’s hallucinating or not.  So we’re left to wonder….what’s real?  Are the creepies real?  Are the people he meets on his quest to re-start the reactor core and therefore hopefully save the ship real?  Is he even where he thinks he is?  He does worry that he’s moving in circles.

 

Here’s where the antipsychotics come into play.  It seems that though people try not to mention it (as though it’s bad luck), there was a previous flight during which a crewmember went insane, decided the ship was cursed, and ejected everyone out into space.  Probably to save them from the Event-Horizon-style evil ship.  And it was caused by his brain freaking out about hypersleep or the passage of time or something related to the method in which these ships travel.

 

Now, on the new ship, the Elysium, there is always a crew of three awake at any given point in time.  They rotate out, each spending two years conscious at one time.  They say Pandorum is very rare, but if this is Humanity’s Last Hope, should anyone really be taking any chances?  Why not include a psychiatrist as a part of each rotation?  When the current crew awakens their replacements, give them a mild antipsychotic.  Have the psychiatrist observe them for a couple of weeks.  Let the overlap in crew service act as a safeguard against space crazy. 

 

The ship mostly flies itself, so it’s not as though a little drowsiness is going to cause them to burn up in a star or take a nosedive into a giant asteroid.  And I’m sure by that point in the future, they’d have psychiatric drugs with far fewer side effects, anyway.  One person with space crazy can lead to the end of the human race, people!  This is serious business!

 

The confusion, possible insanity, and creepy bad things are all used in interesting combination, although there is a very obvious “twist” concerning one crewmember.  I can’t decide if it was supposed to be obvious or not; I have a tendency to automatically analyze small details.  There are plenty of plot points that could have been delved into much more deeply, including some insane cave drawings that were referenced but never truly involved in the storyline.  There are moral questions, but they’re thrown in as afterthoughts.  Or space crazy.

 

Overall, I’d say it was a decent movie.  It’s not as groundbreaking as Alien or as philosophical as Sunshine, but it’s still certainly worth watching.  Oh, and for the ladies, Our Hero is kind of a hottie.

 

But, you know, NASA, just in case you’re planning on sending anyone off to save the human race anytime soon, you might wanna slip some drugs into the drinking water or something.  It’d be pretty stupid for the entire species to die because one guy got the space crazy.

 

3.5 Chicas