AVS Forum banner
1 - 20 of 53 Posts

·
Blu-ray Reviewer
Joined
·
15,076 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·


The Review at a Glance: (max score: 5 )

Film:


Extras:


Audio/Video total rating:

( Max score: 100 )

87






Studio and Year: Overture/Anchor Bay - 2009
MPAA Rating: R
Feature running time: 108 minutes
Genre: Sci-fi/Horror

Disc Format: BD-50
Encoding: AVC (MPEG-4)
Video Aspect: 2.35:1
Resolution: 1080p/24


Audio Format(s): English Dolby TrueHD 5.1
Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish
Starring: Dennis Quaid, Ben Foster, Cam Gigandet, Antje Traue, Cung Le, Eddie Rouse
Directed by: Christian Alvart
Music by: Michl Britsch
Written by: Travis Milloy
Region Code: A

Blu-ray Disc release Date: January 19, 2010







"Don’t fear the end of the world. Fear what happens next.."



Film Synopsis:


In Pandorum tells the terrifying story of two crew members that 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 (Quaid) staying behind to guide him via radio transmitter, Cpl. Bower (Foster) 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.




My Take:


I never got the chance to catch Pandorum during its theatrical run. Having seen the trailer a number of times it looked to have good potential. The story revolves around a small band of survivors who awaken from hyper sleep aboard a huge space exploration vessel roughly 500 million miles from earth. Earth’s limited resources have begun giving out under the weight of overpopulation. The solution is a planet named Tanis that is located light years away and has environment similar to earth. The 60,000 passenger Elysium is launched on a 123 year journey in order to colonize Tanis before earth’s time runs out. The Elysium carries crew, and personnel in hyper sleep chambers with schedules in place via awakening/hyper sleep routines for staggered relief among the flight crew. Bower (Foster) is awakened not by a member of the crew seeking relief but by the ships computer. He comes out of hyper sleep disoriented and suffering from slight memory loss. After composing himself he awakens Lt. Payton (Quaid) who similarly suffers from a slight case of amnesia relative to exactly what the ships status was prior to them going into hyper sleep. Both men find the ship is stable but with no signs of crew or access to the bridge which is locked. Bower crawls out through an access duct and makes his way into the ships main passageways. He remains in contact with Payton via two way communication and actively seeks to find a way to unlock the bridge. The ship seems to be in disarray with no apparent signs of activity for what looks to have been for a protracted time period.

After coming across a dead body in a corridor Bower discovers that he is not alone. There are mutated cannibalistic humanoid creatures inhabiting the ship and they are not only hungry but are lightning fast, armed and travel in packs. While eluding the creatures he comes in contact with Nadia (Traue), a survivor, although not a member of the crew she appears to have been awake for some time and has adapted to life within the now dangerous confines of the Elysium. She doesn’t hang around long and warns Bower when the creatures approach running is the best option. In the meantime Payton discovers, Gallo (Gigandet) a recently awakened crew member that emerges from what appears to be a secreted sleep chamber near the bridge. Gallo informs Payton that prior to going into hyper sleep he was on the bridge and that they received a devastating message from earth which threw the bridge crew into chaos. Bower, now out of contact with Payton joins up with several other survivors in an attempt to restart the ship’s systems by resetting the nuclear reactor which is located deep within the Elysium’s bowels. This will prove no easy task as there is danger lurking around every corner. Bower has begun to have intermittent memory flashes of his childhood, wife and the circumstances that lead to his going on this mission. He believes that his wife may still be alive and preserved in the main hyper sleep chamber in the lower quadrant of the ship. He can’t escape the feeling that something is amiss but his inability to remember hampers his intuition. As things unravel both Bower and Payton come to the realization that much of what they thought they knew, they don’t, and that the truth behind what has transpired since they went to sleep is far more perilous than they can imagine.

Pandorum is a futuristic sci-fi fantasy that really centers around the Bower character and his journey to find not only himself but the truth regarding what has happened aboard the Elysium. While one would think that these two aspects would be intertwined inevitably they are not which is a disappointing shortcoming. This is a dark film not only in tone but visually. It is atmospheric, gritty and violent as the story twists, turns and descends further into the abyss with little known about who, what, where and most importantly when. I did enjoy its frenetic pace, segmented action, and decent special effects. The cast is headlined by Ben Foster and Dennis Quaid who both seem to play just a bit to the camera but otherwise lend credence to the story/characters. Foster gets the lions share of time onscreen and takes full advantage by providing us with a strong character in Bower. Prior to this film I wasn’t familiar with Antje Traue who portrays Nadia but I hope to see more from her in the future as I thought she did a nice job in addition to being easy on the eyes. There is no denying that this film has a ‘been there and done that’ feel. The outcome didn’t prove as rewarding as I had hoped but overall I thought it came off okay and provided enough adrenaline, action and depth to be worth watching.



Parental Guide:


The rating is for strong horror violence and language.





AUDIO/VIDEO - By The Numbers:
REFERENCE = 92-100 / EXCELLENT = 83-91 / GOOD = 74-82 / AVERAGE = 65-73 / BELOW AVERAGE = under 65

**My audio/video ratings are based upon a comparative made against other high definition media/blu-ray disc.**


(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)


Audio: 90


  • Dynamics:

  • Low frequency extension:

  • Surround Sound presentation:

  • Clarity/Detail:

  • Dialogue Reproduction:




Video: 84


(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)

  • Resolution/Clarity:

  • Black level/Shadow detail:

  • Color reproduction:

  • Fleshtones:

  • Compression:

Pandorum comes to Blu-ray Disc from Anchor Bay featuring 1080p AVC encoded video that has an average bitrate of 26 mbps and lossless Dolby TrueHD 5.1 channel audio that has an average bitrate of 3.1 mbps.

As noted earlier this film has a dark and singular chromatic visual style that doesn’t lend itself to overly vibrant colors and high gloss video quality. There are instances where brighter elements/deeper color extension are utilized and the contrast allows them to pop visually. Otherwise onscreen images predominantly lean toward darker color schemes, and grittier textures that provide the look that the filmmakers use to drive the story’s components. This is done to good effect. Shadow delineation is quite good and revealing of subtle details within dark backgrounds and low lighting which enhances visual depth. Good contrast and stable black levels allow scenes containing mixed content to appear gradationally satisfying with crisp whites and dark dynamic highlights. Resolution is discerning as images are characterized by intricate and definitively rendered detail that gives the video appreciable dimension and delineated texture. This is the case in all but a few instances where definition softens and doesn’t retain the same level of lucidity. Grain is visible and rendered in fine even layers that provides texture while never appearing obtrusive.

A movie like this lives or dies (no pun intended) by its soundtrack and this Dolby TrueHD mix nails it. This is a captivating surround sound mix that features an immersive array of well placed sound effects that pray upon your aural senses. Near field sounds are accurately placed within the sound field which gives them multi-dimensional perspective that places you right in the middle of the action. The entire room is illuminated with an array of sounds that are both directional and ambient in nature. I appreciated the attention to detail that went into creating the surround mix as it effectively replicates the environments featured in the film. Bass is rich, authoritative, and room energizing as it accentuates the audio’s excellent dynamic range with palpable impact. Dialogue intelligibility is never a problem even during the film’s active moments. This is a great surround sound experience that certainly made this film more enjoyable.



Bonus Features:

  • Audio commentary with director Christian Alvart and producer Jeremy Bolt

  • (HD) The world of Elysium: Behind the scenes featurette – 14 minutes

  • (HD) What happened to Nadia’s team – 4 minute faux video segment

  • (HD) Flight team training video – 2 minute faux video designed in the world/time of Pandorum

  • Still galleries – Models/monsters, designs/drawings, on set, Turbine pit sequence storyboard

  • (HD) Theatrical trailer

  • (HD) Previews: Law abiding citizen, The men who stare at goats, Capitalism: a love story, Spartacus: Blood & sand, Party down

  • Digital Copy Bonus Disc – Contains a standard definition version of Pandorum that can be downloaded from a compatible PC to a portable media device./li>





Final Thoughts:


Pandorum is a derived sci-fi fantasy that comes up a bit short with its lacks of a well integrated story and good character development. I found it to be entertaining on a visceral level and thought it made for a decent watch that I will likely take for another spin. Anchor Bay’s high definition releases on Blu-ray have essentially been hit or miss in quality but this is easily one of their best. This presentation makes the most out of the film’s dark, stylized visuals and looks great in high definition. More impressive is its lossless Dolby TrueHD audio mix which delivers an engaging and active surround sound experience that will give your system a workout. The bonus supplements are middle of the road and consist of a fair behind the scenes documentary, ho hum filmmaker’s audio commentary, appropriately deleted/alternate scenes and several frivolous add on pieces. A digital copy is included and always welcomed. Pandorum isn’t a strong or original entry in the sci-fi action/horror genre but it does have merit and presents well on Blu-ray which at a minimum makes it worthy of a rental.















Ralph Potts
AVS Forum Blu-ray Reviews





Reference Review System:



JVC DLA-RS20 1080p High Definition Front Projector (Calibrated by Jeff Meier)

Carada Precision Brilliant White 96" Screen

Anthem AVM50v THX Ultra 2 Preamp/Video Processor

Sherbourn Technologies - 7/200 Seven Channel Amplifier

Oppo BDP-83 Universal disc/Blu-ray Player (HDMI Audio/Video)

Toshiba HD-XA2 HD DVD Player (HDMI Audio/Video)

Sony Playstation 3 Blu-ray disc Player (HDMI Audio/Video)

Oppo 970HD universal disc DVD Player (480i HDMI)

Philips TSU9400 Pro Series Touch Panel Remote Control

Canton "Ergo" Series speakers

Axiom Audio QS8 Quadpolar speakers

SV Sound PB-13 Ultra (Rosenut finish)

APC AV S15BLK Power Conditioner/Surge Protector

Furman SPR-20i Stable Power Regulator

Wireworld, VizionWare, Audioquest, Best Deal Cables - Audio/Video/Speaker Cabling

Cool Components - CP-CP102 cooling package
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,848 Posts
Sounds good to me! This is on my list to rent.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
125 Posts
The only thing I would have liked is more info/a better back story on how the "creatures" came to be. Other than that I was entertained!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,455 Posts
I really enjoyed Pandorum as well. The story is more ambitious than a typical sci-fi thriller and resultingly comes out a little too convoluted; but the end made it seem worthwhile. It had a much bigger production than I was prepared for, considering Anchor Bays norm, at least it looked it. But maybe my memory is still biased by Sands of Oblivion.
 

·
Blu-ray Reviewer
Joined
·
15,076 Posts
Discussion Starter · #6 ·

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chad Varnadore /forum/post/17902948


I really enjoyed Pandorum as well. The story is more ambitious than a typical sci-fi thriller and resultingly comes out a little too convoluted; but the end made it seem worthwhile. It had a much bigger production than I was prepared for, considering Anchor Bays norm, at least it looked it. But maybe my memory is still biased by Sands of Oblivion.

Greetings,


Thanks for chiming in old buddy. Good to hear from you and don't be a stranger...




Regards,
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,805 Posts
The movie may not be all that, but I like what I've read from Ralph's review. I have a dinosaur Pioneer Elite Pro 720hd, but it has superior black levels so maybe it will give my TV a good work out. In any event, this review has made the movie catch my interest.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,455 Posts

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ralph Potts /forum/post/17903076


Greetings,


Thanks for chiming in old buddy. Good to hear from you and don't be a stranger...




Regards,

I'll try to swing by the neighborhood more. Problem is, I tend to talk too much when I do.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6,886 Posts
I started watching this the other night and had to turn it off due to the audio. The center channel seemed a bit low, and when turning it up to hear dialog, the rest of the soundmix was LOUD! Will try it again this weekend during the daytime, as not to piss off my neighbors.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
226 Posts

Quote:
Originally Posted by KVH /forum/post/17902688


The only thing I would have liked is more info/a better back story on how the "creatures" came to be. Other than that I was entertained!

I believe they gave the colonists some sort of enhancement that made them quickly adapt to their new environment (the new planet). When people started waking up and they werent on the planet, they adapted to the ship. Thats how those creatures were formed.
 

·
Blu-ray Reviewer
Joined
·
15,076 Posts
Discussion Starter · #11 ·

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chad Varnadore /forum/post/17904344


I'll try to swing by the neighborhood more. Problem is, I tend to talk too much when I do.

Greetings,


The door is always open...




Cheers,
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,190 Posts
Based on this review and score i'll definitely have to try this one out. Wanted to see this when it first came out but didn't get a chance although i've seen the trailer a few times.


Cheers
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,801 Posts
Remember the TV ads for this one, but it came and went so quickly I missed it in theaters, but will probably enjoy it more at home anyway. Any sci-fi/monsters on a spaceship movie with decent sound is usually worth at least a rental for me.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
385 Posts

Quote:
Originally Posted by perpendicular /forum/post/17900925


sounds scary to me...i think i'll give it a try.

Great review, ralph!

+1
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,593 Posts
I saw this movie when it was at my local theater and I came away feeling I had seen this movie before as it seemed to borrow its content from this movie and that movie...but, I'm going to give it another shot on Blu-ray as I do feel it's worth a batch of popcorn, a Saturday night, and a few friends!
.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,266 Posts
I watched this one last night. I originally had modest expectations, hoping for overt Alien/Giger-style monsters (based on the ad art) on the loose in a confined spaceship but it really isn't that kind of flick. It's almost a hybrid of "Descent" and a bit of "Event Horizon." Basically, few human survivors trying to outwit humanoid cannibal savages to get from point A to point B on a restricted timeline...... in a huge industrial looking spaceship with lots of dark tunnels and corridors. Rather deceptively, many of the humanoid creatures have odd metal spikes growing out of their backs just like the Giger Alien, but serve no purpose other than to cast Alienesque shadows on walls as they sneak around.


While I agree Pandorum moved along at a nice clip and there were a few good action/scare scenes, this one never comes close to fulfilling the potential of the basic story and few novel ideas.


The blu-ray does have a solid soundtrack although I agree with one poster above who complained the center channel dialog was often mixed too low. Much of the footage is very dark with a high degree of color correcting done to give the surroundings a rather drab, cool monochrome look. The extra features give a good but basic overview of the production. I found the short segment dealing with the design and makeup applications of the creatures to be the most interesting bit.


All in all, worth a rainy day rental but certainly not a blind buy, imo.


T.B.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
125 Posts

Quote:
Originally Posted by tank171 /forum/post/17905191


I believe they gave the colonists some sort of enhancement that made them quickly adapt to their new environment (the new planet). When people started waking up and they werent on the planet, they adapted to the ship. Thats how those creatures were formed.

I got that part, but more so of the transformation from man to beast. Just not a verbal description. I was left wanting more, that's all.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,190 Posts

Quote:
Originally Posted by Partyslammer /forum/post/17908061


It's almost a hybrid of "Descent" and a bit of "Event Horizon." ...in a huge industrial looking spaceship with lots of dark tunnels and corridors.

Wow! I've seen both Descent and Event Horizon movies and thought those really good scary movie. This definitely helps convince me more into watching this film. Especially with the dark scenes this should really come alive on my XBR8.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
893 Posts
Been curious to see this movie, will have to move it up the ol' Netflix queue after this review. Thanks!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
219 Posts
I don`t think pandorum is that bad at all. it is not the greatest flick ever, but for sure is miles better than some overly hyped modern blockbusters.
 
1 - 20 of 53 Posts
Top