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