Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Christian Alvart|
|Produced by||Paul W. S. Anderson
|Written by||Travis Milloy
|Music by||Michl Britsch|
|Cinematography||Wedigo von Schultzendorff|
|Editing by||Philipp Stahl|
|Distributed by||Overture Films|
|Running time||108 minutes|
Pandorum is a German 2009 post-apocalyptic ecological science fiction film, with elements of mystery and survival adventure. 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 premise is that a massive ship which parallels Noah's Ark is lost in space almost out of power, roamed by spearweilding, scar covered, bone-spiked armored Hunters akin to Morlocks. They are physically superior to humans and this leads to a state of chaos making it every man for himself for the humans on board. The film's title is a nickname of fictional psychosis called "Orbital Dysfunctional Syndrome" (ODS for short) caused by deep space and triggered by emotional stress leading to severe paranoia and delirium along with nose bleed, which prior to the current events caused the captain of a ship named the Eden to believe the flight was cursed. The mystery is centered around what had happened on the ship for it to reach its current state, what is the mission, and what the creatures are.
In 2174, with Earth's human overpopulation crisis causing resources to be very limited, humanity builds a sleeper ship/interstellar ark named Elysium. The mission is to send 60,000 people on a 123-year trip to an Earth-like planet named Tanis to establish civilization there. Eight years into the mission the ship receives a transmission from earth in multiple languages before speaking in English "You're all that's left of us. Good luck, God Bless, and godspeed". Some time later two astronauts of the flight crew, Corporal Bower and Lieutenant Payton, have awakened in a hyper-sleep chamber by power surges aboard. Due to being under general anesthesia during hyper-sleep for eight years they have become amnesiac. Bower ventures deep into the now seemingly abandoned ship to jump-start the reactor to take control of the ship before it dies, along with everyone on board. He remembers how he was interested in the flight since childhood along with his wife being on board the ship and he is suffering from the earlier stages of Pandorum after having a claustrophobic panic attack.
However, he encounters a warrior classed tribe with troglofauna-characteristics along with physical abilities above humans. They practice both endocannibalism and exocannibalism, setting booby traps over the ship to hunt. He also mets two members who have become egoistic lone wolf survivalists because they believe the flight crew to be dead thus resorted to survival-of-fittest tactics. The first being a cynical woman who was a geneticist in Brandenburg who has survived for months by mugging others. She initially acts aloof and hostile towards Bower, but later shows concerned about him finding his wife after he saves her life from the other survivor, an old cook who survived for years by shamefully feeding on both the hunters and humans along with algae covering the ship. Named Nadia and Leland respectively, the survivors join him when they realize that Bower can fix and fly the ship. He also finds an ally in a selfless and persistent non-English speaking agriculturist who saves him several times, named Manh.
Meanwhile, Payton encounters a strange young man named Cpl. Gallo. The corporal claims he had to kill his team in self-defense because they developed Pandorum as Earth mysteriously vanished on their way to Tanis and they are now lost in space. The aftermath is depicted on drawings on the walls of Leland's lair and he explains the cannibalistic behavior based on what he heard from others. Gallo had developed Pandorum and affected many others on board with it as the drawings depict him along with other passengers with lightning bolts around their heads, hinting something abnormal with their minds, along with blood pouring from their noses. He then psychologically manipulated the other psychotics into exiling themselves on the ship to live a culture of fighting, where they hunted each other with booby traps and cannibalized the weak. Eventually, he went back into hyper-sleep, leaving the Elysium to become a generation ship and it's hinted that over time the descendants of the psychotic cannibals had evolved into a different subspecies who are apparently continuing what Gallo started with their ancestors. This was due to an enzyme given to the members through their feeding tubes in hyper-sleep that was supposed to both help their bodies adjust to the conditions on Tanis and speed up evolutionary ecological selection. Instead they adapted to the conditions of their low sunlit ship.
It is also revealed that Bower's wife left him, with nothing else left for him on Earth he enlisted on the mission to find a place in history, while she remained on Earth and vanished along with it. Which causes him to grieve to the point of giving up but Nadia gives emotional support, saying she saved his life and that humanity was meant to survive. So they move on and when the group finally reach the reactor Manh distracts the cannibals in order for Bower to jump start the reactor. Mahn is corned by their leader but refuses to die without a fight so the creature gives him a weapon to defend himself, which leads to a one-sided battle in the monster's favor. However, the creature's arrogance leads to Mahn getting lucky and manages to kill it, but he is killed when he hesitates to slay its child.
The remaining three then head to the control room to gain control of the ship, where Gallo and Payton are. There it is revealed that Payton isn't really who he thinks he is and that Gallo is Payton's hallucination of his younger self, his own memories playing mind games with him. Gallo proceeds to kill Leland who arrives before the others, and is then confronted by Bower and Nadia. Bower remembers what the real Payton looks like and knows he isn't his lieutenant. However, the ship is apparently lost somewhere in space where there are no stars and the cannibals close in on them, this causes Bower to have another panic attack and the final stages of Pandorum take effect on him. Gallo then attempts to manipulate him as he did with others who fell to the psychosis. He states that they should create a new world in a wild primitive state with the ship to replace human civilization because its moralistic altruism led to the malthusianism crisis on Earth and that they should embrace predation among each other(referencing the hunters). It's then revealed that the ship has actually reached Tanis, landing under water, and 923 years have passed since the mission started. In his delirium, Bower breaks the hull's window, flooding the ship. He manages to briefly overcome his condition, and gets himself along with Nadia into his hibernation pod. The flood triggers a hull breach emergency ejecting the active pods to the surface, while Gallo and the cannibals drown. This starts Year One on Tanis with a population of 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 story was originally set on a prison ship named Pandorum, transporting thousands of Earth's deadliest prisoners to another planet; the cannibal hunters were the end result of the prisoners' degeneration. 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 the attention of filmmaker Paul W. S. Anderson and Jeremy Bolt, 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 the name of the ship to a type of mental illness caused by sustained deep space travel.
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.
Release, Director's Cut, & Sequel
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.
In 2010 fans started a Facebook group – 500,000 to get PANDORUM sequel – To help reassure the producers to make sure a sequel comes out. Director Christian Alvart later became a member of the group.
Review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes reports the film holding 27% positive reviews out of 81. The majority of them being mixed with the site rating it 4.2/10. 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)
- Lovecraftian horror
- Locked Room Mystery
- Survivalism in fiction
- Psychological effects of spaceflight
- PANDORUM rated 15 by the BBFC
- "Pandorum". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 2011-09-20.
- "Pandorum". ComingSoon.net. Coming Soon Media, L.P. Retrieved 2009-06-25.
- McNary, Dave (May 8, 2008). "Quaid, Foster set for 'Pandorum'". Variety. Retrieved August 8, 2008.
- Roxborough, Scott (November 7, 2008). "Impact finds $40 mil to make 'Pandorum'". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved December 1, 2008.
- Koehl, Christian (August 5, 2008). "'Pandorum' secures German funds". Variety. Retrieved August 8, 2008.
- The official Pandorum movie site
- "First Word on Pandorum Home Video Release".
- Pandorum at Rotten Tomatoes
- "Pandorum". Metacritic. Retrieved 2009-10-14.
- FILM REVIEW: Pandorum | SFX
- McGlynn, Jack (October 29, 2009). "Pandorum Review". Film Ireland. Retrieved 2009-11-01.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Pandorum.|
- Official website
- Pandorum at the Internet Movie Database
- Pandorum at allmovie
- Pandorum at Rotten Tomatoes