Pandorum embraces anti-atheist rhetoric *spoilers*
***Major Spoiler Alert***
Just saw Pandorum today. It's a decent sci-fi horror, but ultimately I was disappointed by the central message. The movie ominously (for me at least) starts with a final message from Earth which ends "God bless, and God speed." I'm hyper-sensitive to god-language in films, especially science fiction films, so I was hoping this was just a minor slip of dialogue, but as we reach the climax of the film, it becomes apparent that it was not.
The central message of the movie is the old cliche: If we give up on god, all hell will break loose. Payton at one point says something to the effect of, "You think God is going to save us? God is dead! We're the kings now! Join my nihilistic/anarchistic/egocentric fantasy!" Then Bower says something to the effect of, "There will always be law, blah blah blah...."
It's so frigging disappointing to get the same cliche and populist messages over and over again. I expect it from most hollywood movies, but I tend to raise my expectations with science fiction. Sometimes you get a good rationalist message. Sometimes it's not all: Science is evil, nobody really knows anything, god is necessary, humanity is depraved, etc. Not often, but sometimes.
I also saw the movie '9' recently. Same basic problem. 'The Machine' is evil, and represents all the evils of 'arrogant' science, and only a 'soul' can save the world. Yadda yadda yadda.
You know, I always find it depressingly funny that all these anti-science, anti-rational, anti-atheist movies *depend* crucially on fantastical elements in the story in order to make it make *some* sort of sense. In '9', it depended on a magical device which could suck souls out of people and put them into machines.
In Pandorum, the whole movie depends on two un-realistic fantasy elements. First, the pandorum illness itself. This illness basically turns you into a psychopath bent on destroying everything. Gee, that's handy. All we have to do is give this imaginary illness to the one character representing Nietzsche, and suddenly our thesis falls into our laps without any creative work on the writer's part. Second, the mutants/aliens who 'evolve' more rapidly due to some magical gene therapy treatment thingy. Of course, we all know that 'evolution' logically implies the end result will be a psychopathic killing machine a la Alien. Bonus, this gives us the convenient excuse to have the chaotic kill-or-be-killed environment that permeates the movie, and further establishes that atheism implies nihilism and destruction.
These kinds of fantasy-element short-cuts are what ruin good science fiction. If you can't tell your story without making up some magical plot device to make it all 'make sense', then it's really no longer science fiction anymore, is it? It's more of a science fantasy. It's lazy, it's weak, and it's frustrating. I've got no problem with 'stretching' science, but it's got to remain realistic. Speculative, not just 'made up'. Otherwise, what's the freaking point?
Anyway, my verdict: Pandorum, mostly good, but ultimately a disappointment. Worth watching, but by no means a classic, IMO.