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Category:    Home > Reviews > Science Fiction > Horror > Thriller > Pandorum (2009/Overture/Anchor Bay Blu-ray + DVD)

Pandorum (2009/Overture/Anchor Bay Blu-ray + DVD)

 

Picture: B/B-     Sound: B+/B-     Extras: B-     Film: B-

 

 

Few Science Fiction films are of substance anymore, but we get the occasionally intelligent one and Christian Alvart’s Pandorum (2009) may offer some of what he have seen before, but it has enough interesting ideas, suspense and solid performances to be one of the best “ark” movies (all the characters are stuck on one ship with or in something troublesome) in a while.  If anything, we have seen less of these films since they are too smart to sell toys with dumb digital effects.

 

Ben Foster (one of the best actors of his generation impressive here as usual) awakens on his spaceship with a limited memory and the knowledge that he is trained for a mission, but the ship is having power troubles.  He then helps another awakened soldier (Dennis Quaid) and they try and piece together what is going on.  What follows is pretty good and is from the team that produced Event Horizon, including that film’s director Paul W.S. Anderson.  This more than earns its R-rating, which is good news for serious fans of the Sci-Fi and Horror genres these films belong to.  It works well as a thriller and if you missed it, you’ll want to catch up with it ASAP.  I liked it and it is one of the best genre films of 2009.

 

Director Alvart seems to make films in genres on already established ground and is more successful here than he was with Antibodies (2005, reviewed elsewhere on this site) and yet, the ending does not gel with the rest of the film.  However, this is so good for so long and so ambitious otherwise that fans of this kind of film (i.e., Event Horizon, Sunshine) will likely enjoy it more than not and has enough to keep people talking about it for years to come.  It should hold up for a good while too and the rest of the cast (including Cam Gigandet, Antje Traue, Cung Le, Eddie Rouse and Norman Reddus) are a plus.

 

 

The 1080p 2.35 X 1 digital High Definition image on the Blu-ray is pretty good throughout, though so much of the film is in darkness that all it has to do is recreate Video Black deeply and it does this usually well.  However, the combination of Fuji stocks and Super 35mm shoot do not allow this to look as good as Event Horizon and the digital effects can look too obvious at times.  Director of Photography Wedigo von Schultzendorff (The Thirteenth Floor, awful It’s Alive remake and Igby Goes Down) does his best work to date here.  The anamorphically enhanced DVD is not bad for the format, but cannot handle the detail, color and Video Black as well.  Editing is also impressive.

 

Dolby TrueHD has been having a tough time of it lately as more Blu-rays arrive in DTS-HD MA, but this is one of the best True HD 5.1 mixes we have heard in a while with a great soundstage, surprisingly clean and clear sound effects that do not distort no matter how wild they get and top rate recording that helps to make this an even more effective film.    The Dolby Digital 5.1 mix on the DVD cannot handle the range and though is good for what it is, becomes strained when the sound becomes at its most enveloping.  Michl Britsch (Antibodies) delivers an interesting score too.

 

Extras in both formats include stills, Deleted & Alternative Scenes, Flight Team Training Video, What Happened To Nadia’s Team featurette, Welcome To Elysium: Behind-The-Scenes featurette and feature length audio commentary track by Alvart and Producer Jeremy Bolt.  The Blu-ray adds a Digital Copy DVD-ROM for PC and PC portable devices.

 

 

-   Nicholas Sheffo


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