September 25th, 2009

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Still of Ben Foster in PandorumPandorumCung Le at event of PandorumStill of Ben Foster and Christian Alvart in PandorumStill of Ben Foster in PandorumStill of Ben Foster and Antje Traue in Pandorum

A pair of crew members aboard a spaceship wake up with no knowledge of their mission or their identities.

Release Year: 2009

Rating: 6.8/10 (53,703 voted)

Critic's Score: 28/100

Director: Christian Alvart

Stars: Dennis Quaid, Ben Foster, Cam Gigandet

Two crew members are stranded on a spacecraft and quickly - and horrifically - realize they are not alone. Two astronauts awaken in a hyper-sleep chamber aboard a seemingly abandoned spacecraft. It's pitch black, they are disoriented, and the only sound is a low rumble and creak from the belly of the ship. They can't remember anything: Who are they? What is their mission? With Lt. Payton staying behind to guide him via radio transmitter, Cpl. Bower ventures deep into the ship and begins to uncover a terrifying reality. Slowly the spacecraft's shocking, deadly secrets are revealed...and the astronauts find their own survival is more important than they could ever have imagined.

Writers: Travis Milloy, Travis Milloy

Dennis Quaid - Payton
Ben Foster - Bower
Cam Gigandet - Gallo
Antje Traue - Nadia
Cung Le - Manh
Eddie Rouse - Leland
Norman Reedus - Shepard
André Hennicke - Hunter Leader (as André M. Hennicke)
Friederike Kempter - Evalon
Niels-Bruno Schmidt - Insane Officer 'Eden' (as Niels Bruno Schmidt)
Asia Luna Mohmand - Child Hunter (as Luna Mohmand)
Delphine Chuillot - Young Bower's Mother
Wotan Wilke Möhring - Young Bower's Father
Julian Rappe - Young Bower
Domenico D'Ambrosio - Wounded Officer 'Eden'

Taglines: Don't fear the end of the world. Fear what happens next.


Official Website: Official site | Official site [France] |

Release Date: 25 September 2009

Filming Locations: Babelsberg Studios, Berlin, Germany

Box Office Details

Budget: $33,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend: $4,424,126 (USA) (27 September 2009) (2506 Screens)

Gross: $10,330,853 (USA) (19 November 2009)

Technical Specs


Did You Know?

Travis Milloy wrote a preliminary script which was set on a prison ship. The characters Nadia and Manh were inmates. Bower was a non-prisoner who didn't trust anyone. The producers gave the script to director Christian Alvart who was shocked by the similarities to his own screenplay titled 'No Where'. His dramatic story was about four astronauts aboard a settlers' ship who suffer from amnesia. Alvart decided that they should weld the two screenplays together, and the producers and Milloy agreed.

Revealing mistakes: When Bower is attempting to awaken Payton by banging on his tube, it reads Payton from the outside. In a reverse angle from inside the tube, it clearly reads Bower, indicating the tube was reused from the earlier sequence when Bower awakened.

[first lines]
Recorded Voice: You're all that's left of us. Good luck, God bless, and God's speed.

User Review

Better than Event Horizon and Ghost Ship combined

Rating: 7/10

Echoing such luminous sci-fi classics as 2001 and Alien, Pandorum is a terrific psychological thriller, although it does struggle at times to be coherent and original. But it's a true mindbender, and it's packed with action that moves so quickly neither the actors nor the audience can really catch a breath, which is a good move if your plot is shaky to begin with.

As with the best deep-space movies, the context is mental illness, what the Professor on Gilligan's Island called, oddly enough, "island madness." Only in space. In the distant, distant future, a ship has been sent from the Earth carrying a lot of people, headed to the only Earth-like planet ever found. Sometime during the journey, things go awry. We pick up the story as an astronaut named Bower (Ben Foster) awakens from hypersleep, abruptly; he's soon followed by his commanding officer, Payton (Dennis Quaid). The rest of the crew is gone, and the only door is locked from the outside. What's happened here? Making matters more difficult is the amnesia that each man suffers from, owing to their having been in hypersleep way longer than intended. Somehow, they must piece together what has happened and find out what lies behind that door - and throughout the rest of the gigantic ship.

Not only does the movie recall Aliens and 2001, you can also see similarities to The Descent and The Abyss; really, any movie in which people are trapped in claustrophobic environs. And although the pacing is frenetic at times, the movie is really chillingly shot (by Wedigo von Schultzendorff). On the one hand, the plot flows linearly - Bower needs to get to the ship's reactor so he can reboot it and save everyone - meaning that the actors race from scene to scene, running out of time. On the other hand, they don't piece together what's happened as quickly as they might in other, lesser films; they seem to figure things out gradually, as if assembling a puzzle in their heads. Bowers and others - and there are others - discover right away, though, that they're not really alone on the ship and that their enemies are extremely strong and fast and vicious.

Injected into this oh-my-goodness-what's-out-there madness is, well, madness. The movie's title is explained as being a sort of mental illness that affects astronauts from time to time, when they just plain go bonkers for seemingly no reason and kill everyone on board. Is that's what's happening here? Is Bower the crazy one? Or is it Payton? Are they, in fact, alone on the ship? Foster is excellent as the hero who remembers a little bit more of their mission as time elapses; Quaid, in turn, shows a few more layers than we're accustomed to seeing from him (he's usually more of a poor man's Harrison Ford). Both actors turn in convincing, full-throated performances that complement, rather than succumb to, the special effects and cinematic wizardry. Often, the effects are the entire show. Now, it's true that you won't see a lot of character development here, as you might in the most cerebral of sci-fi, but what works best here is the paucity of knowledge about the situation and the characters. By spinning the tale gradually, feeding the audience only a snippet at a time, director Christian Alvart dangles the mystery in front of his viewers without allowing them to settle back and solve the mystery on their own. When you're constantly kept on your toes with sudden lurches of unseen shapes and reverberating noises, you - like the befuddled characters - are concurrently kept off balance. The result is an unsettling, entertaining delight.

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