Pandorum

We've invited our friend John P. Higgins to share with us his thoughts about, well.. pretty much whatever he feels like. Schlock Games, Movies, TV-nothing is sacred. John's columns will be a bit more in-depth than our usual reviews, and may feature significant spoilers. You've been warned, but you'll like it.-The Management

Pandorum opens on an intense and intriguing note, with fledgling character actor Ben Foster not playing a crazy person for the first time since X-men 3. He wakes up in a chamber hooked into wires and covered in rubber.

If this sounds like your Sunday mornings, please let me know what the hell kind of club you go to for fun.

Foster gets his uniform on and soon runs in into Dennis Quaid, who's sporting a beard and beady eyes. Quaid informs foster that something has gone wrong (duh). There's some talk of what shift of skeleton crew is supposed to minding the ship on it's journey to the salvation of humanity, and neither of them really knows.

They decide is high time they explored a space ship that was designed by Trent Reznor. It's full of tubes and weird lights and creepy music, Foster crawls around in chamber that's comically full of rubber tubing for a little to long until he stumbles into the locker room. Then he's assaulted by Milla Jovovich 2.0, Bigger Cup Edition, who asks him for his boots.

Then the Space Orcs show up.

The ship is carrying thousands of people to salvation.  However, some of them got out early and contracted a nanovirus that is supposed to adapt them to live in whatever environment they are in. They're trapped on space ship, so they turned into space orcs.

Makes sense.

That whole previous paragraph is recounted in rhyme by Scatman Caruthers' great-great-great-great-great-grandson as he prepares to skin and eat Foster. MJ 2.0 and a Thai farmer they found along the way of such prodigious martial arts skill he apparently worked the Ninja Tree Orchards for many years.

Meanwhile, Dennis Quaid has been arguing this whole time-with a hallucination that really looks like he belongs on Gossip Girl-apparently has the Pandorum, a disease you get from space that makes you crazy. Quaid puts his hallucination in an air lock only to have it get out again. And since it's a hallucination, it wins by shooting Quaid up with Clarity Juice...or something. They merge, and now Quaid is evil.

Foster and his band of ne'er do wells attempt to reboot the ships reactor, which I think works; and then Caruthers XXI is killed by a space orc, and then the Ninja Tree Farmer. Caruthers, okay. But the ninja tree farmer is killed by a baby space orc. What the hell?

The final confrontation takes place on the bridge, where all space-ship based movies have their final conflict, come to think of it.

Foster wants to know where the ship is, and Quaid says Foster has the Pandorum. Foster and MJ 2.0 say that is bullshit, Foster hallucinates, and maybe the space orcs don't even exist! Quaid finally opens the skylights of the bridge to reveal that yes, they are in fact, deep in the ocean of their new planet and have been there for about a hundred years. Which is better than the ship going to hell and bringing back Sam Neil, I suppose.

Foster beats Quaid, he and MJ 2.0 hop in the escape pod, and the ship explodes after discharging all the other escape pods. Humanity then washes up on the continent of a brand new planet that looks suspiciously like Scotland, and Quaid presumably drowns-taking the secret of Pandorum with him.

This movie paired off with another claustrophobic space movie could work either as a horror Space Cavalcade (Event Horizon), or just Space Schlock (Wing Commander).