Pandorum (Blu-ray) (2009)

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Released 6-Sep-2010

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Sci-Fi Action Audio Commentary
Featurette-Behind The Scenes
Deleted Scenes
Gallery-Photo
Rating Rated MA
Year Of Production 2009
Running Time 108:05
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Ads Then Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Christian Alvart
Studio
Distributor
Overture Films
Icon Entertainment
Starring Dennis Quaid
Ben Foster
Cam Gigandet
Antje Traue
Cung Le
Eddie Rouse
Case ?
RPI $42.95 Music Michl Britsch


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby TrueHD 5.1
English Audio Commentary Dolby Digital 2.0
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 2.35:1
16x9 Enhancement Unknown
Video Format 1080p
Original Aspect Ratio 2.35:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English for the Hearing Impaired Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

     I am a fan of the Science Fiction genre whether it be in feature films or television series. It is my belief that this genre tends to include many films which although panned by critics on theatrical release are often quite decent movies which deserve to be given a chance. This, to my mind, is one such movie which although certainly not perfect is an effective science fiction/action/thriller which is interesting and entertaining. It has an excellent creepy and disturbing atmosphere which is best enjoyed if you know as little about what is going on as the characters do, learning as they learn about their surroundings. It did not do well at the US box office upon original release in late 2009, taking only about $10 Million. To my knowledge, it did not receive a theatrical release here in Australia, rather debuting on DVD & Blu-ray from Icon Home Entertainment.

     In order to not spoil the films twists and turns I will only provide a very basic plot introduction here, explaining only the setup. On a spaceship called The Elysium, a young member of the flight crew, Corporal Bower (Ben Foster), wakes up from an extended hypersleep to discover that things have not gone according to the original plan. Due to the long term hypersleep, he initially has memory loss and cannot work out what he is doing there or where they were going. Soon he is joined by Lieutenant Payton (Dennis Quaid) and together they must try to resolve where they are meant to be going, where they are and what is wrong with the ship. The title Pandorum, refers to a disease which can affect those who have undergone long term space travel. That is enough of a plot summary to get you interested without spoiling elements of the story.

     The film is based on a story/screenplay by Travis Milloy, which was then added to by the director Christian Alvart. This is Alvart's first major picture as a director (although he did direct some smaller films like Antibodies) and it was filmed in Germany using a combination of quite extensive sets and green screen. The film itself has a very dark colour scheme (probably with a blue colour filter) which really suits the tone and style of the film. The music by Michl Britsch is also a huge addition to the creepiness and scares of the film. The story has many twists and turns, not all of which are necessarily completely clear and easy to understand. There are some plot holes but if you go with it the film is a worthwhile experience for those who enjoy science fiction thrillers.

     Recommended for fans of the genre. Certainly a worthy rental.

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Transfer Quality

Video

     The video quality is excellent.

     The feature is presented in a 2.35:1 aspect ratio which is the original aspect ratio. It is encoded using the AVC codec.

     The picture was very clear and sharp throughout, with deep inky blacks and lots of intricate detail especially in exterior shots of the spacecraft. The darkness of the production design did not result in murkiness with lots of detail to be seen in shadows except where its was obviously meant to be dark and unknown. The colour was excellent doing a great job of representing the dark colour scheme of the film focused on blue and green hues.

     There were no noticeable artefacts.

     There are subtitles in English for the Hearing Impaired which are clear and easy to read. I did notice one minor error.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

     The audio quality is excellent, with a huge dynamic range. If you are not careful how loud you play this to begin with you will end up plastered on the wall of your home cinema room.

     This Blu-ray contains two audio options, a Dolby TrueHD 5.1 soundtrack and an English Audio Commentary Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtrack. The TrueHD is a stunner. Dialogue was very clear and easy to understand at all times. The soundtrack varies widely from quiet and creepy to incredibly aggressive during action scenes.

     The music by Michl Britsch is great for the film adding a lot to the atmosphere.

     The surround speakers are used aggressively throughout with lots of atmosphere in quieter sections and a cacophony of surging sound across the rears during action scenes.

     The subwoofer was given a real workout by this soundtrack with lots of thumps, thuds and tension sounds shaking the room.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

    A decent selection of extras.

Menu

     The menu included scenes and music. The menu items on subsidiary menus are quite hard to read due to the menu colour scheme and size of font.

Commentary - Producer Jeremy Bolt & Director Christian Alvart

    A quality commentary which is relaxed and informative. It covers development of the project, the story, how the ideas of the writer were combined with those of the director, casting, deleted scenes, sets, production design  and more. Very worthwhile.

The World of Elysium - Behind the Scenes (13:59) HD

    Fairly standard making of including interview snippets with cast and crew combined with scenes from the film. Covers development, casting, creature design, sets and the director.

Deleted and Alternate Scenes (27:41) HD

    Lots of content here but nothing incredibly illuminating. There are longer sequences as the characters wake up, more exposition and more detail in some scenes. Some are not complete in terms of effects.

Still Galleries 

    Four large still galleries covering the following topic areas, Models & Monsters, Designs and Drawings, On Set & Turbine Pit Sequence Storyboards.

  

 

 

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    The Region A Blu-ray release of this movie includes the follow extra items

    The Region B release has the following in addition to the Region A version

    On this basis, the Region A seems to be the better choice.

Summary

     A slightly confused but enjoyable sci/fi action thriller.

     The video quality is excellent. The audio quality is excellent.

     A decent selection of extras are included.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Daniel Bruce (Do you need a bio break?)
Monday, August 16, 2010
Review Equipment
DVDSONY BDP-S760 Blu-ray, using HDMI output
DisplayLG Scarlet 42LG61YD 106cm Full HD LCD. Calibrated with Ultimate DVD Platinum. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080p.
Audio DecoderBuilt into BD player. Calibrated with Ultimate DVD Platinum.
AmplificationPioneer VSX-511
SpeakersMonitor Audio Bronze 2 (Front), Bronze Centre & Bronze FX (Rears) + Sony SAW2500M Subwoofer

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