Approaching the Unknown (2016) Movie Review

Friday, June 3, 2016

Approaching the Unknown (2016) Movie Review

Approaching the Unknown (2016) Movie Review

Captain William Stanaforth is on a one-way solo mission to take the first steps in colonizing Mars. Like all pioneers throughout history, Stanaforth will face insurmountable odds and life and death decisions as he rockets bravely through space.

wow, terrible

Approaching The Unknown is a film where an astronaut, on his way to Mars, alone, sits in his 1-room space cell and fixes cables, operates distillers, sighs a lot, and eventually looks into space after 1 hour of said fixing, operating, and other daily duties which would be boring to perform, but are mind-numbingly dull to watch being performed. There is NOTHING ELSE happening in this film. After a solid hour of intense boredom, in which we have a 5-minute scene of the astronaut back on earth, testing the machine which gives him water, which he then subsequently operates several times while on the ship .. a brief conversation about nothing with earth control .. and a 2-minute Skype session with earth schoolchildren who ask about the machine... (please do not think that this machine is in any way interesting; it's a thing that gives him a drop of water.) we have a tiny bit of development where he grows a beard and looks frustrated.
Approaching the Unknown (2016) Movie Review
Went in hoping for some cool Sci Fi. Came out feeling... Hmmm... Sorta Okay'ish.
Well. It's not a bad movie. May as well say that to begin with. 

I particularly enjoyed the whole setting and concepts thrown in there which fit the actual space launch to Mars in 2026. I had hoped we would see something like that in this. 

When seeing Emily Maddox, another captain on her way there I felt like "Alright. Cool. He might make it up there, then meet up with her, they begin building stuff and such like in The Martian with Matt Damon" 

Sad to say that didn't happen. Not even close haha. Things went completely sideways and he seemingly went obsessively off the grid. Traveling to Mars without a machine to keep him alive, landing in the middle of nowhere apparently and just enjoys the philosophical aspect of being the first one there to live, and die. 

The End. 

I understand what the director is going for. Because these missions are dangerous. And considering the risk it's definitely interesting to see what could happen if things didn't turn out like your traditional Hollywood crowd pleaser. 

But I think it's kinda BS to hype up us like this, throw in some really interesting circumstances and lead us to believe we'll get to see Mars in a more realistic light for once but 50 % in the film just drops all the build up and Mark becomes this philosophic caveman, hellbent on completing his mission only to face certain death because....he was very lonely back on earth. 

Again, I can understand that. I truly can see where the director is going and on a profound level of symbolic meaning. Looking deeper into what some believe our existence is about. How we are One with Space and more that Mark's character points out in his extensive pondering about life and the universe, is fascinating and makes for an interesting movie. 

Im open minded and love thinking and feeling based on what I'm seeing and hearing in these kinds of films. I enjoy the calm immersion. But if you cannot do this, this kind of structure might really bore you. 

If you understand what the director is going for, you might not mind much. You'll understand this shows another aspect of space travel. Another aspect of humanity that isn't Matt Damons survival. But instead a common to terms with our ultimate demise for the sake of just experiencing something truly beyond anything we could imagine. 

And that is quite beautiful. It truly is. Contrary to Matt Damon as well as Val Kilmer in Red Planet that pretty much said "**** this planet" by the end of the film. 

Mark's character however goes to fulfill a life-purpose of returning to his real home so to speak. A planet where he doesn't bring his own loneliness. His lack of something he doesn't fully elaborate on. It's just him there. And it's very profound.

My problem with this however is that by the end of the film after seeing Mark with a beard and looking half dead, he suddenly just appears all fresh and ready. He lands on Mars and walks around. We get no explanation or insight into how everything just changed, considering he was running out of water and looking like he was losing his mind.

He just lands and the movie ends. And whats more is the fact that Maddox's character just becomes irrelevant. She was heading to Mars too. Where is she now? Because the thing is based on what we saw, she was sent there ahead of Mark's character. And they were planning to meet.

All of this remains unexplained. And that's what I actually really hate because this film had the opportunity to offer us more than a science lacking and planetary colonization missing story, but ultimately ends up going 100 % Philosophy. 

It has its place. It certainly does but it went full AHEAD by the end of the other half of the film. Pretty much ignoring everything else we had hoped to see. 

I was hyped to see them land. I was hyped to see them meet up. I actually thought they would. THAT WOULD BE COOL! Maddox even said that! 

And then nothing happens. "sigh" 

Anyway. It's not a bad movie. But I feel it could have done a lot more. Especially with everything happening lately. And what will happen in 10 years. I really hope we get a movie that depicts something like that. 

Our fascination with the Red Planet should result in a lot more than just Death and regret towards going there. Whatever happened to Mission to Mars? They met an alien there. It was awesome. Why is nobody doing that anymore? Haha. 

Anyway. 6 out of 10 is my score. That equals a Good film. Its not amazing or fantastic. Its just good. Above average. I would have rated it 7 if we had seen more of Lathan (Maddox) and just explored more of Mars. Seen more interesting stuff than the final thoughts of an obsessive explorer that decided to complete his journey only to die. 

I can understand what the director went for. But its not very satisfying. Especially not when you notice the movie began feeling sorta rushed or too short. If you like Sci Fi you might enjoy this. However, it's opening half will do a 180 on you and that might arguably suck. I wanted to see more than him just landing only to die. The movie lead up to that, and just decided not to do it anyway. 

It could have been better and more fulfilling. This ultimately ends very "Hmmm" That's how I felt anyway. Plus the cowboy blues credits soundtrack didn't at all help. Seemed so ironic and comical.

Approaching the Unknown (2016) Movie Review

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1 comment:

  1. I think it was a crap movie all the way around, and I enjoy slow, psychological films. Just plain bad in every way .. don't bother watching this film.


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