I love space flicks, new and old – Alien & sequels, 2001: A Space Odyssey, Interstellar, Arrival, and High Life, just to name a few great classics as well as some fascinating recent films. Show me some astronauts bouncing gently around rocket ships in otherworldly zero-gravity. I adore looking at galaxies and stars, to be absorbed in the scale of space, making it clear how small humans are and how indifferent the universe is to human life. Let’s see a good space fight, some nice explosions, or a cool rocket launch. Sadly, SPACE offers little of the aforementioned and instead traps the audience in the spaceship in this low-budget sci-fi flick.
SPACE follows a group of astronauts as they start off on their journey. The year is 2050 and the film opens on an AMA with Dr. Ada Gray (Lara Jean Sullivan), a young astronaut. A chyron reads off the apocalyptic state of Earth in 2050. SPACE will be released on March 31, 2020, amidst a widespread COVID-19 pandemic that has sent shockwaves worldwide. The current circumstances make SPACE‘s premise – abandoning Earth to terraform other planets – all the more plausible.
The group of astronauts are abandoning a climate-change-ravaged Earth. The film follows their journey through space as it takes place over nearly a year. The story is mainly told through the many cameras installed throughout the tiny spacecraft. This found-footage style of the movie follows the life of the astronauts as they have sip bagged drinks and talk about their life stories.
There’s Dr. Ada Gray, Tomcat, Phil, Evan, and Mitch. They spend their days hanging out, talking, drinking, arguing, and sometimes video-calling with their families on Earth. Their ordinary routines are suddenly tossed to the side when they have to escape into their emergency pods where they find themselves alone in space, trying to reunite with each other.
Let’s address the elephant in the room: Earth’s gravity still seems to apply in the spaceship which I found quite distracting. It’s understandable for a micro-budget movie, and it’s far from the only space movie to do this. But when you watch it, you’ll understand the feeling of watching an astronaut play, rather than an encompassing space pseudo-documentary.
During the film, I found myself wishing for more establishing shots of space. We’re trapped inside the spacecraft with the crew, never seeing the galaxy of stars and planets they can supposedly see. This makes the movie claustrophobic and visually uninteresting. The viewer only sees the love triangles and petty squabbles, never the vast galaxy that the stranded astronauts find themselves facing.
The unconvincing acting and predictable story, along with the low-budget sets, makes this movie feel longer than its 93-minute run-time. If you’re looking for a sci-fi drama, be prepared for a talky space drama – minus the actual space.
SPACE is a feature film from director Monte Light (2 Die For segment “Woman Scorned”, 1 Minute Manias!, Look and See, and Drag). SPACE features Lara Jean Sullivan (Hungry House), Michael Klug (Look and See), Ellysa Rose (Dear White People), Justin Michael Terry (Upgrade U), Kurt Quinn (Man Camp), Jim Hilton (Garage Sale), and Len Kabasinski (The Cutthroats). The film will be released On-Demand and on multiple digital platforms on March 31, 2020.