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Wednesday, 27 January 2010

The Thin White Dude's Reviews - Pandorum



The poster's probably cooler than the film itself.


The rate is pretty fast here folks. So it turns out, I'll be reviewing a lot more movies than I previously expected. I'll have reviews for The Hurt Locker, Star Trek, Observe And Report and A Perfect Getaway, with more being quite the possibility in the race towards the Oscars. Okay, so Pandorum is a little-seen sci-fi movie from Autumn 2009, starring Dennis Quaid and Ben Foster as Lieutenant Payton and Corporal Bower respectively. The two awaken from hypersleep on their spaceship, with partial memory loss that begins to return over time, and find out during the course of the film that some humanoid creatures which feasting upon people who are aboard the ship. Now, to start with the good about the film, there are some very interesting aspects to the film. The concept behind Pandorum and the hypersleep-induced memory loss is very interesting, particularly in the context of the slowly revealing plot. These moments really are the highlights of the film. The twists and turns of the plot are so interesting that you wonder why they aren't in a better movie, all in due time. With regards to the acting Dennis Quaid really does his best with a character that could have really been written far better. His character of Payton could have been written as a far more three-dimensional character and would have served the character and Quaid, who is a better actor than people give him credit, more justice. Poor Dennis just sometimes seems to pick the wrong films to star in. Also, Ben Foster seems like he is a purely expositional character whose sheer purpose in existing is moving the plot forward, and as such he cannot do much with the role. The best thing about the film in its execution is perhaps its art direction. The Elysium ship where the action takes place in the film is suitably grimy and well-crafted, bringing to mind the famous sets of Alien. In this film however, it comes across as a sort of quasi-cyberpunk kind of set, with very shiny looking technological designs being contrasted fiercely with the grime of deterioration. Also, the cinematography by Widego von Schultzendorff is very good, using interesting and concise cinematic techniques in order to capture the action. Also, the use of lighting works very well in conjunction with the sets, highlighting just how well they have been made. Now, time to bring out the scalpel and saw, because this film is about to get a thorough butchering. For starters on the desecration, the script is really woeful. This is one of those films that may as well be a silent film, in that all of the dialogue in the film is purely expositional, and does nothing to help develop the characters in the film whatsoever. It's all a case of "that's why this plot point is linked to this plot point and we've got to do this next or else we won't get to the next plot point." No effort is made to develop these characters, which is a real shame particularly in the case of Dennis Quaid's Payton, which really could have made this at least a better than average film alone considering the strength of the concept. Also, while structurally the plot turns come in at the right points, they only seem like they come in at the right point because everything in between is so bad. The action sequences completely silly and unmemorable and the scenes which are meant to develop tension as the characters run from Point A to Point A are completely irrelevant and have no place being in a film with such strong ideas. Travis Milloy and Christian Alvart have really written a poor script and really should have re-written it, because a movie will never work off the power of its concept alone. I mean, look at Avatar, it had everything going against it, being a non-franchise film, with none of the modern box-office "names," yet it has become the highest-grossing film of all time. Why? Because first and foremost it is a solid and damn good film. If you are going to go to the effort of putting a fair amount of money into a film, which could be enough to give aid to the homeless, educate the poor et al, at least have a good script to make it worth the while and an artistic statement, and give sizable portions of the proceeds to charities. I'm sorry, call me a hypocrite if you want, but sometimes I feel that the film business is a disgusting business. I mean, film-makers are complaining about file-sharing: the film business has earned more in this decade than it has in the preceding three decades put together. It is just because their profit margin has decreased slightly over the course of the past few years. Stop being greedy bastards! Also, if you are going to have your film earn as much money as the bloated blockbusters do, at least give some back to society, rather than further increasing the gap between the middle class and the working class. The B-movies have become the A-movies, with films purely driven on an idea and nothing else, and the only reason we end up going to see them is because we are more or less forced to or obliged to through the horror that is the advertising industry, the most destructive force in the sabotage of art culture by capitalism and consumerism. I can see through the lies, I just go to see the films out of both a sense of self-loathing obsession (LOL) and the fact that I see this as a public service to you, the people, so you don't have to see the films under any coated over illusion of lies. Sorry, that was a mad digression, but I really get angry at the selfishness of the film business sometimes. If you are going to spend hundreds of millions of dollars, at least do it to be the ambassador for something of great importance to the world. Anyway, sorry, I'll get back to Pandorum. The film is also poorly directed. Christian Alvart seems to have no sense of direction whatsoever with Pandorum. Also, it seems as if, being a writer of the script as well, he is either unaware of how bad the film he is making, or if he is, he just doesn't care. It's real Catch-22 for the poor guy. In truth though, if you are to play the auteur role, you should be completely aware of what you have on your words. Here, we have what could have been a genuine cult classic ruined by a really bad script and half-assed direction. Sorry for those who have been insulted by my use of foul language, but whenever you are exposing the folly of capitalism, you've got to sharpen your nails and bit down with venom. Quit beating around the bush and expose them for what they are!

The Thin White Dude's Prognosis - 4.5/10

The Thin White Dude's Self-Diagnosis - On fire!

Also, if you wish to stop reading because of my anti-capitalist opinions, you are a bigot officially certified by The Thin White Dude. If you do not share my opinions on capitalism and continue to read the blog, all the more to you. We all have our opinions and are completely entitled to them, regardless of my opinions on others opinions, it does not change people and human nature. Peace out!

6 comments:

The Thin White Dude said...

Guy on poster looks like Steve Tyler

Anarchy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anarchy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
The Thin White Dude said...

When I was watching the movie, I was paying to what was going on, but to be frank, I have yet to watch it again since my review well over three years ago now.

My early reviews (of which this is one) are rather inflammatory and perhaps aren't necessarily reflective of the movie as a whole. However, I do remember feeling rather frustrated by it, especially given that I have a real fondness for of it's ilk like Event Horizon, and stand by my original verdict, though I doubt I'd be as scatterbrained in how I put my point across these days!

I've tried to look at your post Anarchy, but the url is coming up as page not found. Have you deleted it or is the link broken?

Zamiel said...

Here is a better link.

http://commentaryandcritiquing.blogspot.com/2013/08/pandorum-characterization.html

Zamiel said...

If you mean frustrated as in confused I think that was the point. Kinda meant to be a mind bender.