Repo Men & Pandorium

With temperatures reaching unbearable levels I decided to take it slow this Saturday and catch up with some movies. Sci-Fi movies that is.

First I watched Repo Men. The movie caught my attention when I came out in cinemas. It is built around a quite gruesome but catchy premise. In the near future an evil company sells expensive artificial organs on the basis of loan contracts. When the receivers of said organs are unable to pay, the company sends in assassins who remove the organs killing the receivers in the process.

Sadly, the premise falls apart under careful scrutiny. It is difficult to imagine a legal system that would allow this kind of business practice. But on the other hand, it doesn’t sound like a reasonable business model either. Killing your debtors doesn’t help anybody. On the contrary. Prolonging the loan under more severe conditions would pay off in the long term. This is how loans usually work.

The movie also fails in the department of action and characterizations. The action scenes are confusing and uninspired. The character’s motifs are sketchy at best. Starting with description the Schrödinger’s Cat experiment, I hoped the story would explore some of the philosophical questions of organ transplantation. A similar scenario was subject of the famous short-story “Do you exist Mr Jones?” by Stanislaw Lem (the full German text is here, I recommend). But sadly, no such ambitions.

As a redeeming quality there is a nice plot twist at the end. Nothing too revolutionary but just enough to keep the whole thing from feeling like a complete waste of time. All in all, a very average movie.

The second movie I saw was Pandorium. It was directed by the German director Christian Alvart. It takes place on a spaceship on it’s way to colonize a second earth. Crew members wake up from cryogenic sleep and realize that something went very wrong. It’s the tired formula of ugly space monsters chasing after frightened survivors in a dark, claustrophobic ship. Sadly, I’m a sucker for Sci-Fi so they had me at “spaceship”.

I was expecting the worst and I was pleasantly surprised. Yes it is very clichéd. The monsters are silly and have no real reason. All characters seem to struggle with amnesia and other psychological problems. But in the end, all those well-known clichés are well executed and come together to create a solid mystery. The reveal at the end is well done and surprised me even a bit. The characters have some depth to them. The set design is excellent, especially if you compare it to the poor set design of Start Trek.

It may not me a masterpiece but it is a solid, entertaining watch. If you like Sci-Fi, I do recommend it.

Krystian Majewski

Krystian Majewski was born in Warsaw and studied design at Köln International School of Design. Before, he was working on a mid-size console project for NEON Studios in Frankfurt. He helped establish a Master course in Game Design and Research at the Cologne Game Lab. Today he teaches Game Design at various institutions and develops independent games.

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The Game Design Scrapbook is a second blog of group of three game designers from Germany. On our first blog, Game Design Reviews we describe some games we played and point out various interesting details. Unfortunately, we found out that we also need some place to collect quick and dirty ideas that pop into our minds. Hence, welcome to Game Design Scrapbook. You will encounter wild, random rantings. Many of then incoherent. Some of them maybe even in German. If you don't like it, you might enjoy Game Design Reviews more.


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