This space odyssey goes in the wrong direction.
“Voyagers” is an artisan Sci-Fi thriller with echos from “Lord of the Flies,” “Alien,” “The Thing, “High Life,” and “2001: A Space Odyssey.” It starts off intriguing and ends up being rather dull. The set-up is promising, some of the performances are good, and the production designs are amazing, but the story runs out of oxygen and the characters aren’t drawn at their full potential.
The movie takes place in the year 2063, when humanity finds a new sustainable planet, given our current situation. The voyage to that planet will take about 80 years to reach, which is why they grow children in the labs, and why they need to reproduce on board, so their grandchildren will reach there. The future offspring must know nothing about the old Earth, which is why the scientist Richard (Colin Farrell) must tag along with the first generation.
A decade later, en route, we meet the first generation in their early 20s, including Christopher (Tye Sheridan), Sela (Lily-Rose Depp), and Zac (Fionn Whitehead from “Dunkirk”). Christopher and Zac both learn that they’re being drugged with the daily blue vitamin water (called “The Blue”), so they can’t have sexual desires or any kind of fun. They’re supposed to reproduce naturally. Figures, they can’t afford to overpopulate the ship or planet.
The ship gets attacked by a mysterious alien force that kills Richard and leaves the remaining crew members in worry. They all vote Christopher as the new chief officer of the ship, and his first order of business is to repair the damages caused by this alien force so they can contact Earth.
And about this blue water thing, when everyone stops drinking it, things spin out of control. Zac begins harassing Sela, fights break out, the crew slack on their duties, Zac turns against Christopher, and they don’t know if the alien made it on the ship or not. Or worse, did the alien make it inside one of the voyagers?
I’ve seen some Sci-Fi movies in the past decade that have wasted their potential. First, I saw “After Earth,” which forced people to talk like they’ve read and studied the whole dictionary,” and then, I saw “Passengers,” which sent the story of Chris Pratt and Jennifer Lawrence waking up early on a long voyage in the wrong direction. And I’m wondering why the future generation has to talk like autistic aliens and why they have to appease mass market crowd with the obligatory situations. It’s difficult to fully determine, because we find various reasons.
“Voyagers,” in this case, is marginally better than those films for taking some interesting ideas, but it still succumbs to the typical Sci-Fi drama cliches. Written and directed by Neil Burger, the movie is a mixed bag for me. I liked Sheridan and Farrell for having human characteristics, but the other passengers are either generic or flat. Genetic defects as they would describe. And the designs on the ship are well-crafted with their white and blue lights, long hallways, and computer screens, but the space sequences aren’t “2001: A Space Odyssey” or “Interstellar” dazzling and the space guns look lame.
There are so many good ideas in “Voyagers,” but what is the movie really trying to convey? I have no idea. I’d stay for the first half, and go out for a drink during the second half.