Sometimes you read things in the newspaper about the economy and think wow, this really isn’t getting better at all, not even one little bit and even if I did get a job apparently I am in the minority (especially in print publishing, which just took one step closer to death as you read this) of over 40 y.o. professionals who got leveled as part of the first wave of the recession and just how tenuous is this job anyway and then you might run into a person or two who have been working for years at the company you just started working for and well, don’t they have a thing or two to say about the imminent collapse of the business based on all the company tea leaves they’ve been reading and so maybe you know ha-ha, good luck with nothing! And yeah the rational side of you knows that employees who have been working somewhere for awhile tend to be grousers, but Jeebus Christos, you just moved your family 3000 miles across the country to this beautiful place based on what you thought was a pretty good opportunity and so what if the grousers are right! Ah fuck! Out of work again!
I needed space zombies.
‘Cuz really now, if you wake up from deep space perma-slumber and your memory isn’t intact since you’ve been asleep for four years (maybe even more!) and then you slowly realize the giant spaceship you’re on has been taken over by zombies— and not just any zombies but modern, athletic zombies, not lumbering 60’s zombies— who want to eat you, well then compared to a little anxiety about job loss, well, the you have real problems. Pandorum is a pretty good little ride as zombie picture go. I streamed it the other night after listening to the aforementioned rant that provoked my anxiety. (I also knocked back a couple of tequila shots.)
After he wakes up, Claire’s ex-boyfriend from Six Feet Under (called “Bower” in this movie) crawls through a series of dark airshafts while digitally monitored by a captain with a beard (Alien); the spaceship is dark and wet and gritty and there are long serieses of tubes (Ted Stevens’ internet?) and chains hanging down everywhere (Alien again). What Claire’s ex-boyfriend finds is death, blood and monsters. (He also gets beat up by a girl who eventually becomes his friend, but that is all I am giving away.) Pandorum pays plenty of homage to all the sci-fi and spaceship thrillers that have gone before. To cite a few things: flashbacks to life on Future Earth are wet and dark and crowded (Blade Runner); cities of glass pods containing slumbering humans (a.k.a. zombie food) wired into life-support and covered in goo (Matrix); male and female protagonists jump through secret floor doors to escape certain death and find themselves up to their necks in water and space detritus (Star Wars); creepy, cute, doe-eyed and lethal zombie toddlers (Dawn of the Dead remake, Alien IV); the concept of an entire civilization sent into space b/c Earth has been tapped of all resources and order (WALL-E)— Jeebus, the more I think about it, the more I think this entire movie was an homage.
Then there was the unknown German actress (Antje Traue, see top image) playing the role that Milla Jovovich usually plays, a mixed martial arts guy on board to simulate video game zombie fight scenes and what looked to be enterprising, cost-saving usage of the old Waterworld set on some random backlot. So yeah, a few holes in the story, but mostly Pandorum is an ultra-violence filled good time that startled my troubles away.
If I had control over some space zombies, I think I would send them to attack some the grousers I know, cuz shut the f*ck up already, damn— life is uncertain, business is always changing, don’t get too comfortable and did I mention the volcano up the street??