High concept scuppered by lack of focus
- Aniara review by RJ
The high concept premise of this low budget sci-fi film is that a spaceship ferrying passengers from the dying Earth to a colony on Mars ends up adrift in deep space following an accident that leaves them without fuel. It's a compelling scenario, albeit a rather implausible one - it is never convincingly explained why, in an era of such technological advancement, the ship has no ability to communicate with Earth/Mars/other spaceships after the accident, even though everything else on the extremely hi-tech ship is working perfectly.
If you can take a leap of faith and get past the plausibility of the situation, then it is without doubt rich in potential. With no hope of rescue, the ship essentially becomes a colony in itself and society must adapt to its new way of life. The implications and possibilities of the situation are varied and complex - in truth probably far more complex than any 90 minute film could hope to explore satisfactorily, which turns out to be the case here. What plays out is an episodic narrative full of underdeveloped ideas without any compelling characters to anchor them. It touches on artificial intelligence, consumerism, totalitarianism, the use of political lies to pacify and control the population, religious cults and plenty more besides. Unfortunately these themes are not explored in any depth, and the characters suffer from a similar superficiality. Throw in a crass, tasteless and unnecessary lesbian sex scene (surely conceived of solely for tantalising inclusion in the trailer) and the overriding sense is of filmmakers who probably started out with grand ambitions and good intentions but who sadly lacked the creativity, imagination and discipline to deal with such potent source material (the film is based on an epic Swedish sci-fi poem which I suspect is more successful at exploring the existential possibilities of a human colony drifting through space).
All of which is a shame because it is not entirely without merit. The set design and the special effects are good and they create a convincing environment for the action to take place in. It is ironic that these elements - those most likely to be affected by the evidently low budget - are convincing, whilst the elements that should not be affected by budget - creating interesting characters, developing ideas, basic storytelling - are the ones which ultimately let the film down.
6 out of 6 members found this review helpful.
Still think about it
- Aniara review by SB
We had no idea what this film was about when we
fired up the projector, apart from a bizarre bit near the middle of the film( it gets a bit fruity) that would kind of refrain me from recommending it to friends or colleagues ( yep), it was a right good show. We had no idea where it was going and it still pops into my mind now and again, well worth a detour from a Hollywood film.
That’s not to say we don’t love Hollywood films , we love em.
2 out of 2 members found this review helpful.