Pandorum

 
(i)

 

Relentless, intensely violent sci-fi chiller isn't for kids.
  • Review Date: September 25, 2009
  • Rated: R
  • Genre: Science Fiction
  • Release Year: 2009
  • Running Time: 108 minutes

What parents need to know

Positive messages

Despite the movie's unrelenting violence and dark tone, the characters actually behave in an admirable way; characters from different backgrounds team up to strive toward a common good. They choose hope over despair and order over chaos. They show bravery and selflessness (the hero tries to go back to rescue fallen comrades). They also choose not to inflict violence on an alien child.

Positive role models

The hero overcomes some initial disorientation and terror to embark upon a dangerous mission that will save the lives of thousands. He sometimes succumbs to anger and frustration -- and has the worst potty mouth in the movie -- but as the story progresses, his bravery and optimism win out.

Violence

Sudden attacks occur throughout, complete with stabbings and slashings with sharp instruments. An eyeball is pierced with a needle, and a character's stomach is sliced open, with guts visible. Blood, muck, and slime are plentiful. Since the story takes place mostly in the dark, in twisted, sinister-looking corridors, and using a terrifying array of screeching sound effects, there's a constant state of tension and dread. Characters engage in several lengthy fights, with grabbing, punching, hitting using blunt instruments, and shots from a "non-lethal" wrist ray gun.

Sex

Not much of an issue. The hero appears wearing only underwear in one scene, and the heroine displays ample cleavage throughout, but there's no nudity and no suggestion of sex.

Language

Not a constant barrage of foul language, but many uses of "f--king" and "f--k," as well as "s--t," "hell," "damn," "ass," "oh my God," and "goddamn."

Consumerism
Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Not really an issue. A sedative is given to a hysterical character against his will, and other characters are rendered unconscious with knockout gas.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that the intense violence in this dark, scary sci-fi movie is apparent in every scene, even if it's not specifically presented in terms of fighting or gore (though there's plenty of those, too). There's a constant, unrelenting feel of terror, tension, and dread, thanks mainly to the movie's overwhelmingly dark, metallic, deliberately unsettling sets. Alien creatures threaten to jump out from every dark corner, and the soundtrack's alarming use of screeching noises adds to the general unease. Likely it will be too much for most kids to handle. Despite that, and despite the characters' severe trials and tribulations, the movie has a solid ethical core and a generally hopeful outlook. Characters set aside their differences and team up for the greater good, and despite his potty mouth (expect plenty of "f--k"s and more) and initial disorientation, the hero ultimately behaves bravely and selflessly.

What's the story?

In the future, the spaceship Elysium is launched on a very special mission. From one of its hibernation chambers, Bower (Ben Foster) awakens, not knowing who he is, how long he' has been asleep, what his final destination is, or how far away he is. A senior officer (Dennis Quaid) also awakens, and they agree that Bower -- using his still-remembered training -- will embark upon a dangerous mission to find the ship's reactor and reboot it. To get there, Bower must travel through many dark, imposing and sometimes claustrophobic corridors. To his horror, he soon discovers that he's not alone on the ship -- and that not all of his new companions are friendly.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

PANDORUM won't convert anyone who isn't already a sci-fi/horror fan, but for those already in the club, it provides some very intense, memorable chills. Directed by Christian Alvart, the movie has an especially effective set design, filled with dark, constricting, metallic corridors with lots of snaky black tubing poking out. The ship's lights keep flickering out, and every inky corner is filled with potential menace. And the off-screen screeching noises help keep up a constant sense of tension and dread.

The movie's theme of madness (the "pandorum" of the title) is played to the hilt, the violence comes fast and hard, and it will likely be a bit too much for most kids. Fortunately, the hero (Foster) is a likeable sort, and he grows and changes in an interesting way over the course of the film; the overriding theme is one of hope.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about the effect of the movie's very intense violence and terror? How does it make you feel? Is it really necessary for the plot?

  • The film's prologue charts the future explosion in the Earth's population and mentions a severe shortage of water and food. What causes overpopulation, and why is it bad? What are some of the ways to curb it?

  • What's the difference between social order and rules and chaos?

  • What would it feel like to be away from your loved ones in deep space?

Movie details

Theatrical release date:September 25, 2009
DVD release date:December 22, 2009
Cast:Antje Traue, Ben Foster, Dennis Quaid
Director:Christian Alvart
Studio:Overture Films
Genre:Science Fiction
Run time:108 minutes
MPAA rating:R
MPAA explanation:strong horror violence and language

This review of Pandorum was written by

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are conducted by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

Find out more

Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

Find out more

About our buy links

When you use our links to make a purchase, Common Sense Media earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes. As a nonprofit organization, these funds help us continue providing independent, ad-free services for educators, families, and kids while the price you pay remains the same. Thank you for your support.
Read more

See more about how we rate and review.

About Our Rating System

The age displayed for each title is the minimum one for which it's developmentally appropriate. We recently updated all of our reviews to show only this age, rather than the multi-color "slider." Get more information about our ratings.

Great handpicked alternatives

  • Dated but still extremely scary. Not for younger kids.
  • Grim, intellectual space adventure. Not for kids.
  • Alien sequel is bigger, faster, scarier.
  • Creepy robots and lukewarm ending haunt sci-fi classic.

What parents and kids say

See all user reviews

Share your thoughts with other parents and kids Write a user review

A safe community is important to us. Please observe our guidelines

Adult Written byMovie Man October 3, 2009
 

What Starts Out as an Alien-Esque Sci-Fi Horror Turns Out to Be a Sci-Fi Masterpiece with Novel Twists and Turns!

I loved this movie; it was fantastic! It was terrifying, action-packed, and the acting was fantastic. And the twists; they blew my mind. I saw a few of them coming, but the big ones were the ones that blew my mind. The final twist made my jaw drop. PARENTS: This is not for kids; it is utterly terrifying and spine-tingling, with a constant sense of doom; there are multiple jump scenes, followed by strong, vicious violence and gore. On a possitive note, the main hero never loses face and pulls through in the end, despite astronomical odds. This is a very scary, well-written, well-acted masterpiece; and the jump scenes will leave you clawing your seats and loved ones and looking around your shoulders continuously. Beware; the good sign of well-made suspense is making the audience know when the jumps are coming, yet the audience jumps anyway. I knew when the jump scenes were coming, yet I jumped out of my seat. Bravo. Thanks for reading - Movie Man
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much swearing
Great role models
Adult Written byuytt2 October 29, 2009
 

rent it

this movie looked cool in the trailer bu it kind of sucked nobody really acted well and i also didnt get the plot rent it becuse it might scare you at some point
What other families should know
Too much violence
Kid, 12 years old January 24, 2010
 

Favorite movie of all time.

The movie itself was great, as soon as I watched it I wanted to start it again. The plot had more twists than Universal Studios' Dueling Dragons. Gore: Pretty bad, stabing, monsters biting chunks out of people, decapitations and needle in the eye at one point (They close-up on this). Though it's pretty dark throughout the movie, making it a little less visible. But not much less. Language: On and off F's, a few scatered S**ts and B*****ds, and other smaller curse's. Terror: I(13) and my brother (16) watched this with our mom, it didn't scare us but our mom covered her eyes for most of it. It was a very dark movie throughout the movie they're ttrapped in a ship with horrible monstermutant/alien things, cannibles and darkness with a reactor about to blow and cause them all to die. But the hero always try's to help all survivors he meets. Other: No smoking, drinking, drug abusing, sex, or commercialism. I just wanted to say, forget all of the above and just rent it, it was the best movie I've eever seen and my mom and brother agreed it was in their top 3. For those of you worrying about a horrible ending: It has a happy ending, but I will say no more.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much swearing
Great messages
Great role models

Poll

Did our review help you make an informed decision about this product?

Digital Compass