by Tony Medley
Runtiime 116 minutes.
OK for children.
This is a terrific
sci-fi film about a space ship en route to a far distant planet with
5,000 people who have been placed in a state of suspended animation, to
awaken four months before arrival on the planet, a trip that is
scheduled to take 120 years.
Alas, flying through
a storm of asteroids the ship is damaged and one pod, containing Jim
(Chris Pratt) opens and awakens its inhabitant. He finds himself alone
on the huge spaceship with only Arthur (Michael Sheen), a robot
bartender, for company.
I donít want to give
away the story except to say that he is eventually joined by Aurora
(Jennifer Lawrence) from another pod. They are still 90 years away from
This is such a
realistic depiction of the problem facing them. Directed by Morten
Tyldum from an original script by Jon Spaihts, the key to any sci-fi
film is whether or not it defies credibility. While itís hard to believe
that there would be 5,000 people who would be willing to leave
everything behind and take a step like this challenges believability,
Iíve seen lots of films that have premises a lot more unreasonable as
Once you go along
with the program, itís then not that difficult to put yourself in the
shoes of Jim and Aurora and to see if they can work it out.
The acting is very
good, especially Sheen, who has to become robotic, but still
sympathetic. Some of the things that happen are believable because of
the brilliance of Sheenís performance.
Pratt says it best,
ďItís adventure, itís romance, itís a thriller, itís scary, but itís
emotionally resonant.Ē Amen. This is a terrific way to spend two hours.
The spaceship is as
much a character as the actors. While it looks as if it must have been
CGI, according to Production Designer Guy Hendrix Dyas, he built most of
the sets and Pratt and Lawrence are not performing in front of Green
Screens to have the visuals inserted graphically. They are actually on a
set with what is seen on the screen actually around them.
Just as an example,
the Hibernation Bay, where Jim and Aurora were supposed to sleep for 120
years, was a huge set, 120 feet by 190 feet. It took 10 weeks to build.
Thatís not to say
that there are no visual effects. The ship itself is sailing through
space and there are many shots of it. It is mind-boggling, and a joy to
You wonít see many
sci-fi films as good as this one.