Additional Aspects of Pandorum

Alright, as promised, here are the additional aspects of Pandorum that I found interesting but could not find time to deal with in my presentation.  Caution: Spoilers.


One of the best moments in this movie happens near the end.  We’ve just found out that Lt. Payton (Dennis Quaid) is really Corporal Gallo and is the one who murdered his flight crew and started this “game” of cannibalism.  He is sitting on the bridge, and opens the shutters of the ships windows, allowing Bowers to see out.  No stars are visible.  Solipsism is the belief that you can only know that your mind exists, and solipsism syndrome is a personality disorder wherein people believe they are the only thing that exists and everything else is a figment of their imagination.  So this shot of the ship’s windows being opened and nothing being out there is representative of this belief.  At least, that’s how I look at it.


I can’t remember where I heard it (probably some ultra non-academic source), but someone once said that Batman is the best superhero because his superpower is the ability to adapt to different situations, which makes him the ultimate human being.  After all, the species that human beings evolved from only survived because they were a jack-of-all trades and could adapt to different environments.  In Pandorum, the obvious representation is the mutants who evolved due to the accelerator.  However, Leland (the cook who has the history of the ship scratched on his wall) has survived because he was able to adapt to the state of the ship.  At the end of the clip I showed, Bowers (and his two friends) are unconscious because Leland has gassed them and intends to eat them.  When Bowers comes to and tries to reason with Leland, his tactic is to say that no one will blame him because he (Leland) did what he needed to do to survive.  The other representation occurs near the end.  Once they reach the reactor, they realize that it is the mutants lair, and there is no way to get to the reactor without going through the mutants.  Bowers covers himself in blood and grime and dirty cloth and attempts to pass himself off as one of them.  It just demonstrates how humans can adapt, and proves that devolving into a more primitive state is the best way to survive in this environment.


This is a very common theme in this movie.  Gallo is the first culprit, as his stories of what happened to the flight crew are interspersed with Leland’s version, and visuals of what actually happened.  The amnesia creates a unique problem, as Bowers could have been able to tell pretty easily that Gallo wasn’t Payton.  But this is where it becomes a trifle flouncey and almost performance-arty, because in most unreliable narration it just the viewers who are being misled.  But in this film, the unreliable narrator is actually the characters’ memories.

There are so many cool little moments that the film nerd in me loved, but I reiterate that at times it was almost too much.



Pandorum.  Dir. Christian Alvart.  Perf. Ben Foster, and

Dennis Quaid.  Impact Pictures, and Constantin Film.

2009.  Film.


One thought on “Additional Aspects of Pandorum”

  1. Since your presentation I have been really wanting to watch this movie! I absolutely love it when films employ an unreliable narrator that adds a twist to the plot. It is one of those devices that I am not sure is used enough for people to naturally see it coming, so I think it often surprises the viewer in a good way. Looking back, so many of my favorite movies and books utilize unreliable narrators, such as Inception, Momento, Fight Club, American Psycho, Wuthering Heights.

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