Sci-Fi Space movies are one of the costliest genres of filmmaking. Mostly because of his depiction of galactic space. But this particular genre is majorly occupied by large studio films that failed to hit the mark. Under space movies, we have only a handful of flicks that are remembered. The common denominator in their low success rate is a weak script. While makers get ambitious and invest lavishly on sets and VFx, they fail to crack the script. In order to save bucks, Stowaway kept much of its events inside the shuttle, but the important question is, is it interesting enough?
A space shuttle, MTS-42 commanded by Marina Barnett (Toni Collette) is headed to Mars for a 2-year mission. The ship is boarded by two other astronauts namely, Zoe Levenson (Anna Kendrick), a medical researcher, and David Kim (Daniel Dae Kim) a biologist. David has been researching some algae experiments that he aims to cultivate on Mars in order to create oxygen on the planet. That is the aim of their mission.
Things get pretty screwed up when they find an uninvited crew member, Michael Adams (Shamier Anderson) trapped in the ship’s panel. Michael is a Stowaway, meaning a traveler who boards the ship as a trespasser. Michael worked as a launch support engineer and got trapped in the panel during the launch.
The integral conflict arrives when commander Marina informs the crew that CDRA, a system that removes carbon dioxide from the air, got accidentally destroyed when Michael’s body got estranged in the panel. As a result of which, the ship could only afford enough Oxygen for 3 crew members and they had to quickly make a decision regarding the uninvited guest.
Major Spoilers Ahead
‘Stowaway’ Ending Explained
Marina requests David to use his experimental algae to create oxygen for the ship but when his algae fail, the crew is left with enough oxygen only for 2 people on board.
Looking at their devastating state, Zoe insists on getting liquid oxygen from the launch vehicle suggested by mission control. The only problem is that to retrieve the oxygen, an astronaut has to go out in space and perform an Extravehicular activity reaching the launch vehicle. The method is extremely risky and untested, yet Zoe decides to go. Following his spirit, David accompanies her.
While returning back with two cylinders, one slips out of Zoe’s hand. When they reach the ship, they realize that due to a faulty connection, that large tank continues to leak oxygen. They need the lost cylinder to save the ship and passengers on it. Hence, Zoe makes the ultimate sacrifice and exposes herself to extreme radiation to retrieve the cylinder left behind. In the end, Zoe saves her crew but fails to save herself.
Much of the film is happening inside the shuttle with extremely factual dialogues. The words are too scientific and boring. There is only one hook point to the story and that is, on a defective spaceship, there are 4 people with oxygen supplies sustainable for only 2 people. The other two have to go. The point of conflict is captivating and quite horrifying in itself, but in Stowaway it fails to create the necessary emergency.
The screenplay is too lousy and its characters were taken for granted. Even after building so much backstory for the character through “words”, the film fails to create empathy for them. That’s the most prominent flaw of the entire movie.
Other than that, no performer charms you enough. Maybe, they weren’t given enough space to do that. Visually, only the last few scenes are captivating and enchanting that depicts the pictures’ galactic visuals. Even the background score is heard and felt in those last moments. Stowaway is a film that creates interest in its climax and in the remaining period, it checks your patience.
Stowaway is a 2021 Space sci-fi movie directed by Joe Penna. The film is streaming on Netflix.
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