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Pandorum (2009) Sci-fi, Thriller
Directed by Christian Alvart, Written by Travis Milloy
Starring Dennis Quaid, Ben Foster, and Antje Traue
Noteworthy Supporting Roles by Cam Gigandet, Cung Le, Eddie Rouse, and Norman Reedus

Travis Milloy wrote the screenplay, and while he is also accredited for writing the story, the writing behind Pandorum's story was really a merger between his and director Christian Alvart's stories. Both of these men had been working on their own similar ideas, and eventually they were brougth together and the result was Pandorum. In interviews and commentary actors working on the set described Alvart as an incredibly prepared and professional director despite his young age (34). Ben Foster said that Alvart had 800 pages of storyboard. They had many detailed models, and very elaborate sets with surprisingly little green screen for such a special-effects heavy film. The "monsters" were intricate combinations of costume, prosthetics, and make-up. All of this greatly enhanced the actors' ability to immerse themselves in their characters. This was Traue's first Hollywood break. Although she didn't get much work as an actress for the next few years, and was even considering quitting acting, she finally acquired the role of Faora-Ul in Man of Steel and seems to be doing well for herself now.

What really compelled me to enjoy Pandorum overall was the story, plot, characters, and environment. The special effects were superb including great stop-motion techniques to enhance the creepiness of the monsters. But the biggest drawback for me was the acting. Little-known actors Cung Le and Antje Traue did very well, but it was Quaid and Foster who let me down the most. Bringing big names in is a typical Hollywood move to draw crowds and increase profits. As talented as they are, I really found their acting to be formulaic. Foster's character, Bower, took an alarming amount of beatings. But his reactions to getting hurled across rooms and slammed into walls looked more like drowning than experiencing the pain that was actually being inflicted. Most characters had a super-human pain threshold that should only be expected in Marvel movies. Antje Traue's character gets a dagger plunged up to it's hilt in her rib cage (or maybe just slightly below it) on her left side. I think that would puncture the lung, or maybe the stomach. Either way that would be unbearably painful, but she shrugged it off like a bruise for most of the rest of the movie. I guess that kind of thing was more the director's fault than the actors.

All things considered though, I'd say it was a decent movie and certainly an interesting concept. You can tell that everyone involved had a blast. I enjoyed it, but then again I may have been paying more attention to Traue's cleavage than what was actually going on...