FYI: The title of this post alludes to Pizza, Pipes, & Pandemonium, a sort of Chuck E. Cheese-type place that was local to my hometown when I was a youngling. Imagine, if you will: pizza, arcade games, and a PIPE ORGAN all under one roof! It was a child's dream come true- or mine, anyway. It lasted but a couple of years, then the building became a hardware store, then a gym, and finally, it was torn down and replaced with a shiny new CVS...but my memories of gulping down crappy pizza while listening to a pipe organ rendition of the Star Wars theme before running off to play some Galaga remain strong. For the other three people in the world who remember that bizarre place, this post title is for you.
In other FYI news, there have been rather torrential rains falling in southern California over the last week or so. Tornadoes were spotted! Mud is sliding! Burbank Blvd is closed west of the 405! It's...why, it's pandemonium, it is. These wet, grey days have left me feeling like a wet, grey lump, desiring little more than some quality couch-n-movies time. A few days ago, however, I did manage to leave my house- to partake in some quality couch-n-movies time at a friend's abode. I brought over some DVDs, while she went to the video store to see what was what. She came home with, amongst other titles, Rob Zombie's House of 1000 Corpses. I frowned. She said the dude at the store recommended it to her because she said she loves The Texas Chain Saw Massacre. I frowned some more. She asked what my problem was. I relayed that I'd gone to see House when it was playing in theaters, and I'd almost walked out because I hated it so much. My friend frowned. Then I asked if she'd seen The Devil's Rejects- while I didn't like that film either, I found it more tolerable than House. She said she fucking hated The Devil's Rejects and then she frowned a whole lot more.
No, we didn't watch Pandorum. We watched Michael Haneke's Cache, and in the end neither of us got what all the hype was around it. Oh, and the "e" in Cache totally needs an accent aigu, but I don't know how to make one.
I tell you all of this to make a point, and that point is...I do not like House of 1000 Corpses, but plenty of people do. This phenomenon (for which the Germans have a word: Eierschalensollbruchstellenverursacherkleinfreude) (I made that up) (mostly) is called "varying opinions". Some people enjoy things that others do not! I know this is a hard concept for The Internet to grasp, but it's true. Sometimes it leaves one scratching one's head- "What kind of crack are these people smoking that they actually like that movie, and where can I get some?" At other times, one is left scratching one's head and pondering the inverse- "What kind of crack am I smoking that I actually like that movie, and where did I get it?" Such is the case with Pandorum.
When trailers for the film popped up, its seeming Event Horizon had a baby with The Descent premise intrigued me; in a not-at-all surprising twist, I never made it to the theater to check it out. Reports from those who did were unenthusiastic at best. Pandorum has recently been released on DVD, and once again, unenthusiasm abounds. Why, then, did I enjoy it, and why do I seem to be the only person who did? Again, what kind of crack am I smoking?
Payton (Dennis Quaid) and Bower (Ben Foster) wake up on a space ship- in the middle of space, people- with no idea who they are, where they are, or how long they were in hypersleep (or cryosleep...you know, one of those super-long space sleeps). They split up; Payton stays in the CIC while Bower heads off into the darkness to make repairs. Their memories slowly return, which is good; there are hundreds of bloodythirsty (and totally mean) mutant creatures on board with them which is bad. Scant few other survivors are encountered! Secrets are revealed! Pandorum (which is, like, space mania) sweeps through the remaining crew! Thank goodness the one chick who is left is a hot scienceologist!
The entire affair is just about as derivative as the trailers led everyone to believe it would be. It really is Event Horizon meets The Descent, with a little Alien thrown in for good measure- familiar, perhaps, to the point of staleness. The science (for lack of a better term) spouted is confusing at best, the script is fairly weak, the camerawork is at times too frenetic, and the middle of the film is bloated like A Certain Someone (okay, me) after too much Diet Coke and salsa con queso, but...dammit, I had a good time. I'm not denying that maybe I have a soft spot for "gritty" sci fi/horror- there's not much of it around and I've never met one of these films that I didn't like. Chances are, this is why I liked Pandorum while everyone else finds it...well, familiar to the point of staleness. Simply put, I get where the criticisms are coming from, and I don't really care. Gimme some dark metal hallways, some dirty crew members, some monsters and some blood and I'm happy. Yes, it's shocking but true: sometimes I have low standards...and that's okay. Everyone has his or her cinematic Achilles heel. Why, I've even heard that some people like Rob Zombie movies!
That said, your mileage regarding Pandorum will most likely vary. If you want a pretty, bloody picture that's all spacetastic, you may feel as I do about it. Or, you may be a jerk. Who am I to judge? After all, I know of Eierschalensollbruchstellenverursacherkleinfreude.