21/02/10

From the producers of the “Resident Evil” films, proclaims the DVD box of Pandorum.

That can’t be a good sign, surely. Whatever your opinion of the artistic merits of the Resident Evil movies (Transcendentally beautiful, intricately nuanced character pieces or numbskull CGI bloodbaths? Press your red button now.) the fact that they share producers with this movie is basically irrelevant.

I used to see this kind of witless hyperbole a lot in the bookshop where it was possible to find staggering numbers of books coat-tailing other, more successful, works. “Printed on the same sort of paper as Harry Potter!” they would say. “Written using many of the same letters of the alphabet as The Da Vinci Code!” That sort of thing. No wonder bookselling has such a high mortality rate. Want a relaxing career? Join the fire brigade.

It’s easy enough to see what the marketers are driving at with Pandorum. There are Resident Evil resonances, but, more pertinently, there is a lot in common with Event Horizon whose director (Paul W.S. Anderson) is also one of those RE producers alluded to.

Briefly, two crew members on a deep space expedition come out of hypersleep with no memories of who they are or what they are supposed to be doing. As their memories start to come back it becomes apparent that they are not the only ones on the ship.

This is sold as a horror movie but it is more accurately a straight generation starship sci-fi movie. The horror is not entirely absent but is more along the lines of worry or slight misgivings.

It’s all perfectly feasible as entertainment. Nobody is disgraced by their association with the film, though nobody emerges particularly covered in glory either. The bar is set low and cleared with ease.

I was a little bit wistful to see the now old and grizzled Dennis Quaid in this. There was a spell in the early eighties when he was in The Right Stuff, Inner Space, Dreamscape, The Big Easy and loads of others when I thought he would be the next Jeff Bridges or Harrison Ford.

Never happened.

I guess the original incumbents of the Jeff Bridges and Harrison Ford roles haven’t finished with them yet.

2 comments on “21/02/10

  1. Went to see Wolfman yesterday. We were meant to go Valentine’s weekend – that shows you what kind of romantic couple we are – but being in a house with too many cats the night before gave me an allergy hangover.

    Your description, “It’s all perfectly feasible as entertainment. Nobody is disgraced by their association with the film, though nobody emerges particularly covered in glory either. The bar is set low and cleared with ease.” could easily apply to Wolfman. Maybe, though, you’d need to mention the copious amounts of blood and gore. Jeez Louise! It was like they took the slop buckets from the Shop n Save meat room and tossed them with abandon. And that’s only the parts I saw before I could cover my eyes with my turtleneck! I thought the gothic atmospheric setting would pull me in, but, alas, the gaping mouths with split tongues hanging, and the hearts and livers being ripped from poor vigilantes were just too much to overcome.

    On second thought, maybe Anthony Hopkins and Benicio Del Toro should feel a little ashamed. Nearly every camera angle of Del Toro had him looking up with heavy brow and smoldering eyes. Hopkins played his character like a slightly unhinged Hemingway. It may not have been their fault. I don’t think the movie knew whether it wanted to campy or straight.

    The makeup and effects were quite…umm…graphic and well done. Bill admires Rick Baker so he wasn’t disappointed with the movie. I, however, am very glad to be a vegetarian.

  2. Ah, Denis Quaid. As you say John never really got that big hit movie needed to launch him high enough up the A-list to become a permanent fixture (see The Day after Tomorrow and G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra). But then we might have missed out on some lovely lower budget film performances: Flesh & Bone or Far From Heaven (in opinion his finest yet). Or excellent supporting roles like Traffic and Wyatt Earp (his Doc Holliday steals the film from under Kevin Costner’s bushy moustache I think). And finally if Mr Quaid was at the big table would we have got the definitive Grandpa Redbeard in SpongeBob Square Pants? I think not.

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