Where to Watch: Netflix
Release: February 4, 2018
Genre: Mystery, Sci-Fi
My Rating: 7.8
Overview: As the world is on the brink of energy wars, an international team of scientists are sent into space to test the Shepard particle accelerator, a device that could create infinite energy. Proving its naysayers correct, the machine rips open portals to parallel universes, and the team must figure out how to return to their universe. There’s all sorts of universe-going-haywire scenes, and now physics makes even less sense to me than before I watched.
- The plot: 7.5
- Generally, I feel it’s hard to have really intensely developed plots for the 90-minute-to-2-hour film format, but I think this film did pretty well. We clearly understand one of the main character’s, Ava, motivation for joining the team and her most significant conflict: the accidental death of her children, caused indirectly by her. But the whole thing was clearly written before they started filming, and most of the central stories are told and concluded within the time. There is some open-endedness with monsters on earth towards the end. They were referenced throughout the film, so they aren’t a clunky plea for a sequel; however, it’s still open-ended. Unsure if it’s because they ran out of screen time, want a sequel bid, or just a cool, dramatic ending.
- The characters: 7.5
- Despite the naturally brief introduction, the characters are obviously not one-dimensional. What’s awesome about this story is that most of the main characters are trapped in this finite space together, and they definitely morph as the chaos ensues. We see them panic and lose rationality, their true motivations take over, and all in all, are pretty relatable. However, only 2-3 characters really show significant depth, which is to be expected in films because there’s only so much time. Also, there’s one character that seems like they should’ve been a much bigger part of things than she ended up being. Again, unsure if that’s a sequel gambit or what. I also think some changes come on a bit sudden, but overall, I was not disappointed by these characters.
- The setting: 9
- C’mon…it’s in outer space! And parallel universes! How could this not be great, it is quintessential sci-fi! The setting plays a huge role here, and everyone is extremely aware of that. They even discuss Parallel Earth, not just Original Earth, which I appreciate because it shows a consideration of the full setting, rather than just the immediately relevant bits. Then again, I have yet to see an outer space and/or parallel universe film actually do a poor job, since it’s usually the central point of the film.
- The details: 7
- Pretty decent job here. There’s really only one part that I think was majorly skipped over, and to try not to spoil it: basically, they have an urgent problem and while they’re working on solving it, someone does worry about the damage their solution may cause, but then we never hear about it again. The next time that area is onscreen, he’s putting on the final touches of fixing it. So I guess it wasn’t a problem? Wasn’t damaging? IDK. Also, again with that seemingly misinterpreted character I mentioned before. On the other hand, some other details were paid tons of attention.
- The logic: 9
- So I’m not great at physics…which play a big role in this film…so yeah. It seemed logical enough to me, which I think deserves a passing grade, because sci-fi is not supposed to be a classroom, it’s supposed to be entertaining. And I was entertained, and they explained just enough about the particle accelerator and parallel universes for me to follow the story. And they followed their own logic, and also definitely adhere to restraints.
- The reflection of reality: 7
- The film touches on some core issues: we definitely need to figure out sustainable energy. And I think it’s a pretty accurate assumption that, even on the brink of extinction, countries are still fighting and playing political games. However, this discussion is pretty thinly veiled. Individually, the characters face a lot of choices that I think we can relate to — whether to sacrifice the few to save the many, and vice versa, trying desperately to right a perceived wrong, trying to move on from guilt and tragedy. Still, I didn’t walk away with many questions or itching to discuss the nature of humanity. So, this reflected reality, but didn’t compel or answer any questioning, which to me is a bit disappointing.
- The cast: 8
- Well done cast. Diverse, yet actually look their nationality–pretty important for an international space team. However, the actual actors/actresses are not all from the countries their characters represent. That’s okay, I suppose, the main points are there and I feel that they all fit quite well. No complaints.