Running time:108 minutes
Director:Neil Burger
Release date:25 may 2021

Mulder's Review

The search for new territories is a perpetual quest linked to the evolution of man and especially to his survival. While our earth has no more real surprises and unknown territories to discover, this quest is now turned towards space, whether it is Mars or other planets allowing future generations to continue to live if our planet was doomed to disappear as some scientists in five billion years (of course we will no longer be here to witness this global extinction). Such a theme largely explains the will of some engineers and visionaries like Elon Musk to invest millions in space research.

The conquest of space has also been a theme addressed in movies, as recently in the rather successful Passenger No. 4 (Stowaway) by Joe Penna available on Netflix and this new film by Neil Burger, Voyagers. After Interview with the Assassin (2002), The Illusionist (2006), The Lucky Ones (2008), Limitless (2011), Divergent (2014) and The Upside (2017), Voyagers allows its director to return to a genre in which he excels, the science fiction film.

With the future of the human race hanging in the balance, a group of young men and women, bred for intelligence and obedience, embark on an expedition to colonize a distant planet. When they discover disturbing secrets about the mission, they defy their training and begin to explore their most primitive natures. As life aboard the ship descends into chaos, they are soon consumed by fear, lust and an insatiable lust for power.

With such a scenario, Voyagers had the potential to be an exciting science fiction film with spectacular special effects. Unfortunately, due to a real lack of rhythm and originality, Voyagers turns out to be a real disappointment. Neil Burger, who is also the scriptwriter of his film, seems to draw his inspiration from the series The 100 by Jason Rothenberg but also from the book Lord of the Flies by William Golding without wanting to bring new elements. However, it is easy to understand that the main purpose of the film is to show the excesses of science, which, by trying to create a superior and controllable species, only creates individuals incapable of controlling their destructive tendencies. It would have been necessary to create a real disturbing atmosphere and to give more thickness to the characters, except for four well treated characters, the others seem to be only extras as if the script only wanted to focus on the main characters and didn't care about the others.

Voyagers benefits from the presence of well-liked and talented actors such as Tye Sheridan, Lily-Rose Depp, Fionn Whitehead and Colin Farrell (playing the only adult on board this spaceship) but they don't seem to have enough material to build their characters and create a real connection with the audience. Neil Burger's script does not manage to give them a solid base and especially seems to get bogged down in a desire to make a bold representation of a society in space in which procreation is at the very center of the story in its desire to perpetuate the human species on another planet. These thirty teenagers of this space shuttle by losing the only adult on board embodied by Colin Farrell seem to have lost their reference point try to set up a new leader in spite of a more and more important opposition leading to a revolt which will prove to be dangerous for the whole team on board.

With a better care given to the writing of the film and to the creation of the main characters, Voyagers could have been a good science-fiction film as its special effects are successful and it relies on an interesting cast. In this case, we will prefer by far The Passenger n°4 (Stowaway) which with only four characters keeps us on the edge of our seats all along and above all is an undeniable success.

Written and directed by Neil Burger
Produced by Basil Iwanyk, Neil Burger, Brendon Boyea
Starring Tye Sheridan, Lily-Rose Depp, Fionn Whitehead, Colin Farrell, Chanté Adams, Isaac Hempstead Wright, Viveik Kalra, Archie Madekwe, Quintessa Swindell
Music by Trevor Gureckis
Cinematography : Enrique Chediak
Edited by Naomi Geraghty
Production companies: Summit Entertainment, AGC Studios, Thunder Road Films, Nota Bene Films, Fibonacci Films, Freecss Films Limited, Ingenious Media
Distributed by Lionsgate (USA), Universal Pictures International France (France)
Release date : April 9, 2021 (United States), May 26, 2021 (France)
Running time : 108 minutes

Seen on April 30, 2021 in original version

Mulder's Mark: