Stay with me for a moment as the plot is complicated. Pandorum is a psychological condition caused by isolation, fear and panic. It causes hallucinations, uncharacteristic bravery and super human strength. As the population surges to over a hundred billion earth inhabitants, technology cannot outrace the lack of water, food and oxygen on Earth. The natural and invented resources cannot sustain the out of control population. A Malthusian belt develops. The only hope for humanity is re-colonization. Find another planet and destroy it, but slowly! Recently our extraterrestrial telescopic technology has found over two hundred unique planets. A few weeks ago scientists found a planet similar in shape and size to Earth. The only problem is it is too close to the sun in its solar system and is a lava planet. Not to fear you 2012’ers, it has been predicted that we will discover a planet similar to earth that is at least on the surface capable of sustaining life, if life has not already developed there.
This brings us to Pandorum. Earth has been ravaged by human excess and the only means of survival is to colonize another planet. In 2137 such a planet was located by telescope. With intra-governmental cooperation an enormous space ship was created, capable of sustaining over a thousand people. Without attempting to fool audiences and defy all human logic, the travelers would A. Have to volunteer, B. Have skills that would allow their survival with no real technology, and C. Would acknowledge being in stasis for almost 1,000 years or however long it would take to arrive at the new planet. The horrors onboard ship started because of the psychological Pandora, or meltdown of two senior officers and because of the genetic mutations undergone by passengers awoken too early and in deep space.
The action is intense as Ben Foster is continually chased by genetically modified humanesque monsters. During his sojourn to resurrect the generator/reactor before its destruction, he is connected by radio to Dennis Quaid, his commanding officer. Dennis Quaid’s character is undergoing Pandora and has a split personality disorder causing flashbacks, hallucinations and eventually psychosis. Cam Gigandet plays the younger Quaid who woke up too early. They eventually fuse together in a morbid moment of schizophrenia. Antje Traue plays a ship’s science officer who helps guide him to the final destination, or the reactor. Dodging cannibalistic human mutants on the way to saving humanity is no easy task. Armed with the knowledge that most of their family and friends have died and they no longer have a home planet is virtually unbearable without the threat of losing the ship.
In a clever twist the reactor is saved with two seconds on the clock. Amazing how humanity always seems to have a timer attached to it or a good old-fashioned expiration date. At the end Dennis Quaid and Ben Foster have a showdown in which they discover Quaid murdered everyone onboard the bridge and in fact the ship had already landed on the new planet. Nearly everyone escapes except for the morphs. The new planet is gorgeous and has a population of a little over one thousand people. It took over nine hundred years to travel there.
This film raises hundreds of scientific questions but also illuminates modern issues and does so in a riveting way. This is a concept movie that works and has put to shame Solaris, Sunshine and others. A+.
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