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Sci-Fi Thriller / English / 2007

Another movie I've seen, but never reviewed.

"So if you wake up one morning and it's a particularly beautiful day, you'll know we made it."

Let me start off with the worst part about this whole movie:

The butt rock during the End Credits.

Now that that's established, let's talk about what this movie does well, which is most things.

A minor league cast of characters including Captain America, Scarecrow, and Wing Chun are scientists on the second and final voyage to detonate a payload in a dying sun in an attempt to save Earth from the next Ice Age.

The premise is simple enough, however small complications escalate into big questions and once characters start pondering which of them should die for the sake of the mission, a killer is introduced into their midst and the mission is not on their agenda.

It begins with the discovery of Icarus 1, the first vessel to make the trip and stop short of it's destination and the decision to collect a second payload for a second attempt to save Earth.

Changing trajectories causes inadvertent damage to the solar panel shield which needs to be manually repaired. To repair it, the Icarus 2 must be tilted even further, exposing part of it to the damaging rays of the sun. At first this is believed to only destroy a couple comm towers which the crew can live without, but for some reason we casually ignore that this hits their oxygen garden and now all of a sudden the crew's lives are on a timer, and that timer ends before they can complete the mission.

Connecting with Icarus 1 becomes a top priority, but rather than salvaging anything of use, they set loose the religious psychopath Captain, responsible for the sabotaging the original ship and killing his crew, and after 7 years has no plans to change.

I like that they use camera and post-production effects of obscure the appearance of The Captain, because he's portrayed as being sunburned from head to toe, and his religious dialog accompanying his obscure, but ghastly figure helps sell him as this strange cosmic threat.

The CGI overall in this movie is fantastic, not once did anything look unreal to fit. Perhaps the couple shots of the payload room were a bit reminiscent of Cube, but that's a very small minority of shots in a movie that otherwise features a lot of CGI.

The tension felt appropriate, the dilemmas were reasonable, you're basically talking about a crew that knew they had signed up for a potentially one-way journey, so discussing the possibility of killing crewmates in the course of serving out the mission definitely makes sense... HOWEVER, I really would have liked there to be a much more substantive through-point about "saving humanity, but at what cost"? Like, okay, we decide to viciously murder someone we falsely suspect of sabotage because we can't all live off the remaining oxygen anyway, but if that's the sort of values that carried humans to this point, what value is there in keeping humanity going?

There's also a bit of a theme about the dissolving chain of command, wherein we begin by deferring all decisions to the captain who delegates certain decisions, but when he dies the next captain is basically ignored, and attempts to secure unanimous decisions democratically are undermined by dissent, and we return to anarchy.

There is one frustrating choice in this movie that irks me and that's when Scarecrow is informed that there's a mysterious 5th person aboard the ship and they're in the observation room, but rather than inform the other 3 people, he decides to go there alone, resulting in multiple unnecessary deaths. These seem like deaths that are much easier to blame on him than the deaths following the journey to Icarus 1 which he is blamed for merely because he concluded it was the wisest course of action... which it probably was.

Also, if you're the captain, and your subordinates are volunteering each other for dangerous tasks out of spite, what the actual hell are you doing by not stepping in?

Overall, the music was solid, the pace was good, the conflict was appropriate, and it's one of those movies that acknowledges and dwells in that enormous feeling of cosmic unimportance. That in the vastness of space, in it's endless collision of unstoppable forces, your existence just a tiny tragedy at the edge of a great tapestry.

I really liked it, but I don't think it will ever quite reach that threshold of entering my Favorites.

Final Verdict:
[Pretty Good]