The Collegian
Sunday, July 12, 2020

Featured Flick: Pandorum

As a film addict, I am almost never in the awkward position of having little or nothing to watch. I usually go to see two or three movies a week, just to take refuge in a darkened theater room filled with strangers.

Because the blockbusters have dwindled with the 80-degree weather and Oscar season hasn't started yet, I had an unusual dilemma - should I see "Surrogates" or "Pandorum"? Because I'm not a glutton for recycled sci-fi movies, I chose "Pandorum," but got that garbled stuff anyway. I went into the theater knowing next to nothing about this movie. I read only that it involved two astronauts waking up on a powerless spaceship with no memory of who they were or why the ship was a wreck. That, I reckoned, sounded promising. And at first, it was promising ...

... Until it turned into part two of "The Descent" - a British flick about cavers in nowhere North Carolina that is perhaps 10 times better than this - and mutants started clawing, chasing and chewing their way into my nervous system. I should have mentioned earlier that I hate thrillers. It's not the gore and it's not the violence. I don't mind either of those. I just hate being scared. So when the creatures started screeching, I knew I was in for a rough ride.

One by one, the layers of crazy piled on top of me. My muscles began to tense, my heart started pounding and whatever part of me shies away from all those lurking, blood-thirsty demons made me terrified to move from my seat lest the superevolved ship monsters crossed that thin screen divide. Insane troglodytes, Rambo farmers and practically flying geneticists somehow get thrown into the mix all while Dennis Quaid earns his paycheck by sitting in the broken control center fighting himself.

"Pandorum," as the characters tell you over and over again, is a shaking space sickness that makes a person create blue super-freaks with no noses that lust for human flesh and would make Charles Darwin rue the day he ever told anyone about evolution. Booga-booga.

At least it managed to scare me, and, despite all my reservations about this genre, I enjoyed the action and mystery of the ship. I was rooting for someone to win, if it was only to get rid of those screeching flesh-eaters, and I enjoyed, sort of, the electrifying feeling of trying to bring myself back into this reality when the movie ended. Though this film was equivalent in many ways to a recycle plant and borrowed some juicy bits from "The Descent," "The Chronicles of Riddick," "Resident Evil" and "Event Horizon," it makes you forget its inspirations long enough to be terrified (if you want to) and at this time of year, maybe that's all we can hope for anyway. But, if you've never seen "The Descent," you might just be better off watching that instead.

Contact staff writer Jordan Trippeer at jordan.trippeer@richmond.edu

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