Earlier this year I had the opportunity to view a low-budget French science fiction film called Eden Log. It was an interesting film that played out across a screen splashed in gunmetal hues, telling a story that unfolds slowly and leaves many questions in its wake. It tells the story of a man who does not know who he is; he has no memories and he has just awakened in some vast underground facility. After a short while stumbling around, he discovers he is not alone — there are creatures in the darkness and they do not sound happy. As he makes his way through the facility, he slowly begins to piece together what happened and the truth about who he is. The question is, will he like what he finds?
It is an interesting film but I wondered if it could have been better had it had a bigger budget. Not that it needed it, but sometimes I wonder about low budget films that I like and whether money would improve them. More often than not, money only serves to sap creative energy. What is difficult to do and requires a good deal of imagination is made easy by the expanded CG toolbox. I think I will take creativity over toolbox any day — not to say I am immune to its flashy charms.
By now I am sure you are wondering why I am babbling about French science fiction and the sapping of creativity. The answer is simple. Pandorum, as entertaining as it is, is a bigger budget reworking of Eden Log, the latter being more introspective and mysterious and the former being flashier and more visceral. Whether or not there actually is a connection between the two, I do now know, but in my eyes there seems to be a definite link.
As Pandorum begins we learn that the Earth is running out of resources as the population grows out of control. A series of missions are staged in deep space where Tanis is discovered. It is an Earth-like planet that may hold the key to the salvation of humanity. A ship carrying 60,000 people is sent as the initial mission to colonize the planet. The last thing we see is a message telling the flight crew they are the "last of us." A rather ominous start to our viewing mission, wouldn't you say?