Pandorum is Almost a Brilliant Sci-Fi Classic

We haven’t had a Kev Cut in a while for many possible reasons. Maybe every movie I’ve watched since the last time has been a work of staggering genius or a reprehensible pile of garbage that my rule of one simple change couldn’t salvage, or maybe my gigantic ego decided to take a break from criticising people a lot more successful than I’ll ever be (you may be rich, but I’m right!). That ends today because I just watched the 2009 sci-fi horror flop, Pandorum.

Pandorum is an underrated creature feature that is better than most space horrors of its type while still falling short of the brilliance of Alien and the ambition of the now rightly-lauded Event Horizon. Ben Foster plays a crewman of the Elysium, a spaceship/life raft that was supposed to carry the population of a ruined Earth to a new planet, who wakes from hyper-sleep to find the ship wrecked and home to mutant cannibalistic monsters. He is joined in this mystery by Dennis Quaid as his commanding officer, as well as a bunch of lone humans who are hunted alongside him. It’s full of blood, gore, wonky philosophy, stunning production design, and some truly awful 2009 overly-edited action. It’s a midnight movie in the guise of a big-budget special effects thrillride and there is only one way that it could be much, much better than it is. Get rid of Dennis Quaid.

I’m not so much cutting Quaid out of Pandorum as I’m blasting him out of the fucking airlock. A sort-of star in the eighties and nineties, by the time Pandorum came out Quaid was mostly known as a Harrison Ford clone who was reliably the worst thing about every movie he was in. Pandorum is a perfect example of this. Quaid’s role as the mentor revealed to be the villain all along requires an actor of more skill than he can bring to the table. It definitely doesn’t help that he is overshadowed at every turn by Foster who is one of the best character actors around and, thirteen years later, could rock the Quaid role in his sleep. it’s a truly awful performance which threatens to sink the movie every time he’s onscreen, which thankfully isn’t much.

A simple fix, but I want to hear from you. What do you think of Pandorum? Is it underrated or do I have the titular space sickness for giving it the time of day? Let us know in the comments!

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By Kevin Boyle

(header image via IMDB)

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