Voyagers (R13, 108 mins) Directed by Neil Burger **
About five years ago, a New York subway door refused to open for me.
It couldn’t have lasted more than half a minute. But on a hot August day, anxious to get out of the earth and preferably be somewhere air-conditioned and licensed for alcohol, those 30 seconds or so were enough to put me on my mind.
And in my daydream I imagined a world in which the door never opened and the car simply ripped off the line again, far from the station and deep in the bowels of the public transport system of New York, on a legendary loop line. With the conductors dead in their cabins, but the power still flowing through the rails, untouched by an unknown cataclysm above, our train trembled around its track in the warm darkness forever, while we, the living entombed, We have fallen into the war between cars, fighting for every drop of condensation and piece of human flesh until there is no one left alive to tell our story.
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Moments later, the doors opened and I stepped out into the night, happy to find a blood-soaked, proletarian variant. Snowpiercer, but swear to maybe go a little easier on tequila that night. A few months later, when I had actually written most of a first draft, Train to Busan came out and thought my story was dead in the water forever.
But nobody claims it all Lord of the Flies-meets-technology is not a good idea. The devilishly good and seemingly timeless cube (1997) is still a worthy watch, with only a few shonky dialogue and playing that really leaves the side down. While the Netflix-available The platform takes the concept to superb heights, with an explicit class war subtext complementing the usual “what happens when the imprisoned people are left to return to their true natures?” scenario.
Travelers comes – hopefully – near the very end of this current cultural vacuum, with North American movie owners just beginning to think about the possibility of reviving the popcorn maker and seemingly open China for business. Which I think only makes the disappointment even more acute; that an idea as robust and flamboyant with potential as “it is Lord of the Flies. But on a spaceship! Should be wasted on such a pedestrian, anemic and predictable end product.
An environmental catastrophe – still the laziest trope in all fiction, by a lazy mile – has made Earth an option that is no longer viable. And so a breeding program has produced a promised breed of uber-mensch (and, err, womensch) that will travel for 80 years to colonize a distant planet. Or at least their grandchildren will. What could go wrong?
Well, maybe the young geniuses, raised to solve problems, might think that the blue dye in their drinking water is actually a sedative, designed to keep them docile and unencumbered. And then, when they figured out how to suppress it, they could suddenly rise up against Colin Farrell – improbably, the “adult in charge” here – and, for no clearly explained reason, split into two factions, with a will only to take charge. charge and murder each other.
Travelers recalls everything from casual observation Hunger games franchise to Chris Pratt, pushing Jennifer Lawrence to procreate an entire human race in the misguided and heroically gruesome narcotic Passengers. Rather than really questioning any possibility that human nature is a nuanced and unpredictable thing, the film too early settles into a steady pace of fight, flight, and fear of leaps, before nailing an ending as the expression “Total loophole” seems woefully inadequate for.
The poster and trailer appear to be cynically promising brutality and sexuality in frightening amounts, when the reality is even that the R13 rating is barely warranted. Lip service is paid for “fake news” and worship, but it is quickly forgotten.
With a bolder script and less expected choices in design and details here, Travelers could have been an intriguing movie. But instead it just looks and looks like every young adult sci-fi scene from the past decade or more, with interchangeable characters spitting low-level banalities into the same sterile white walls of all spaceships. movies.
These people are meant to be the future of all mankind. Would a little art be too much to ask? And maybe a puppy?