TV-MA‧ Sci-fi/Drama ‧ 1h 56m
Written by Joe Penna & Ryan Morrison
Directed by Joe Penna
Anna Kendrick, Toni Collette, Daniel Dae Kim, Shamier Anderson
(In their own words) A three-person crew on a mission to Mars faces an impossible choice when an unplanned passenger jeopardizes the lives of everyone on board.
There was a lot for me to be excited about this film. The premise looked amazing, love me some Toni Collette, Anna Kendrick is often a delight. Netflix has produced some really nice scifi Netflix originals. I was truly looking forward to this film.
It’s no spoiler to say that the first 10-15 minutes are kind of an accurate representation of the film. It’s done a little odd. We get the point of view of the three astronauts, but we can’t hear them talking to mission control, let alone never see mission control. So we hear the one side of the conversation. Usually we can piece together what was said, but it is an odd choice. It makes the pacing a little disjointed and drags the scenes a little bit. And that’s how I would describe a lot of the film – disjointed and the scene drags a little bit.
The premise of the film is that three astronauts are on their way to Mars when they discover a “stowaway”. A fourth person on the ship who was seemingly accidentally left on board before take off. The ship is going to fast and doesn’t have enough fuel to stop and turn around, leaving them with the dilemma – they don’t’ have enough air for four people. They have to figure out a way to produce more oxygen or their stowaway will have to go away.
This is where the film starts showing to be more of a drama than a scifi film. It also starts to show it’s weaknesses here, because I really don’t care. We don’t learn very much about each character, other than each of their chances at a backstory monologue, but we don’t know enough about them to care about the fate of the travelers. Which is the ultimate sin of the filmmaker – they didn’t get me to care about anyone in the film. By the end, I could care less if they tossed the stowaway or someone else on board.
Don’t get me wrong. The film wasn’t awful. The acting was really nice, for what the actors had to work with. Some of the cinematography was fantastic to help me feel like I’m floating through space with the actors. It’s just that somewhere between the script and direction, something got lost in space.
Three BEST things about the film
1. Some lovely camera work to bring you into the moments.
2. Very nice use of a small cast
3. Nice acting job by Shamier Anderson
The three WORST things about the Film
1. Not very much depth into characters.
2. The odd choice that we never hear or see mission control. We only hear the one side of conversations. It’s a clear choice that doesn’t work.
3. Anna Kendrick feels miscast in this.
There are lots of ways to leave your mark and make a difference.
THE FINAL WORD
More “drama than scifi.” While it has an interesting premise to allow some character exploration, it is unable to bring an emotional response to the audience for a variety of reasons.
My 3L system gives me the choice to Love It, Like It, or Lose It.