Several weeks ago I finished moving my personal blog over to WordPress and signed up for a Google Analytics account to figureout my audience. (There seem to be about 20 of you, all living in your mother’s basement and still looking for a job after being unemployed for two years.) Surprisingly, Figuring Out Pandorum got 60 hits during that time. I’m not really sure why. The movie came out several years ago and the DVD been out for a while. Maybe the Syfy Channel was including it in recent movie marathons. The ending to that movie is somewhat ambiguous. My blog post gave one tantalizing hint without explaining the significance that most people probably didn’t notice .
With this blog post, I’m going to explain the ending to Pandorum as I understood it when I first saw it in the movie theater. (The Wikipedia article goes into greater detail.) Stop reading if you haven’t seen the movie.
Earth is dying. Humanity sends 60,000 people in stasis pods to colonize a distant world. A small crew operates the ship at all times during the 123 year voyage, taking turns coming in and out of stasis. A message arrives that Earth is dead. One of the crew goes mad, declares himself God, and exile the still awake crew members into the unsafe areas of the ship. (There may be more to this but I haven’t seen the movie since it came out.) The crew member that went mad eventually puts himself back into stasis and is one of two crew members reawaken at the beginning of the movie without their memory.
Where did the small, gray-skinned cannibals on the ship come from? Various hints are dropped along the way but the most important hint can easily be overlooked near the end of the movie. The mission clock says 923 years. The ship does reach the new planet after 123 years but crash lands offshore in deep water where surface light doesn’t penetrate. For the next 800 years, the crew exiled to the unsafe areas of the ship evolved—or more acurately, devolved—from the intense cold and radiation into these creatures that haunt the ship, looking to eat survivors who have awaken from their stasis pods. They are not aliens from outside the spaceship who hitchhiked a ride as the beginning of the movie suggests.
During the final confrontation on the bridge, the shield over the windows are withdrawn to reveal a black void with strange creatures on the outside. The ship is submerged in deep water and not lost in some uncharted void of deep space. When a window is cracked and water starts rushing in, the ship automatically jettisons the stasis pods away from the ship to pop up to the surface. These 1,213 normal human survivors forms the new colony for humanity.
There you have it. The writers of Pandorum did a great job of twisting the generic abandon spaceship horror story by adding cannibals mutated from the crew members and putting the spaceship under water. Since I write speculative short stories, I was actively dissecting the movie while seeing it for the first time. (Which sometimes makes it difficult for me to relax and enjoy a movie.) You really need to pay close attention to get all the details in a movie like this. That may be hard to do when someone is being eaten alive in their stasis pod by a half-dozen cannibals.
Since this is a current blog post for the next 30 days, please leave a comment. I’m curious to know why you came looking for Pandorum on my website.