DVD Rating: ****

Reviewed by: Anton Bitel

Read Anton Bitel's film review of Pandorum

Though consisting of the usual suspects, the extras on this disc from Icon Home Entertainment are several cuts above the average.

The audio commentary, shared between co-writer/director Christian Alvart and producer Jeremy Bolt, begins with the bizarre revelation that Alvart was approached with a screenplay by Travis Milloy that was remarkably similar, by coincidence, to something that Alvart was already working on himself. The film that was eventually made is the result of a happy merger of both screenplays into one, with Milloy's full – and fully credited - collaboration. Alvart discusses successfully fighting to get long sequences – in a big-budget film – lit only by a single flashlight, while Bolt emphasizes the difficulties this can create when trying to sell the film on to TV. Alvart, we learn, had to sign a technical waiver declaring the unusual darkness of the picture to be in accordance with his express intentions.

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Equally unconventional was the casting, with little known (outside of television) Ben Foster, completely unknown German actress Antje Trauer and non-actor (but mixed martial arts world champion) Cung Le all taking lead parts, and Dennis Quaid in an uncharacteristic role. Meanwhile, one of the Hunters' victims is played by Foster's brother John, and the creepy child Hunter is played by Alvart's daughter Asia Luna Mohmand, cast without the director's knowledge, and apparently now too terrified to watch her own scenes from the film.

The World of Elysium, the 13-minute behind-the-scenes featurette, combines on-set footage with electronic press kit-style soundbites from cast and crew, but even here, Alvart makes for an intelligent and engaging commentator, and the 12 elaborately built sets that production designer Richard Bridgeland used and reused to create 45 spaces prove well worth revisiting.

There are in all 16 deleted or extended/alternate scenes. All but one are of finished quality, and their highlights include a scene that shows with graphic brutality how it comes about that the Hunters have children, and an additional final scene in which Payton and Gallo, still very much alive, are shown plotting their next move.

Last but not least, the stills galleries – here not just the usual assortment of random images form the film, but four different sets of carefully organized pre-production and production images, falling under the headings Models and Monsters, Designs and Drawings, On Set, and Turbine Pit Sequence Storyboard.

Reviewed on: 15 Feb 2010
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Two astronauts wake up on a broken-down spaceship with no idea how they got there. What's worse is that they discover they're not alone...
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Product Code: ICON10188

Region: 2

Ratio: 16:9 anamorphic widescreen

Sound: Dolby Digital 5.1

Extras: Full audio commentary, behind-the-scenes featurette, deleted and alternate scenes, still galleries

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