TL;DR – A film with a premise that does not hold up and then undermines the rest of the narrative
Post-Credit Scene – There is a mid-credit sequence
The Midnight Sky Review –
I think it is safe to say that I am a fan of the Science Fiction genre. Indeed I try to watch as much as I can get. However, sometimes you come across a concept that just does not work. Unfortunately for all the star power, good acting, and exciting design, today we look at a film that just does not work.
So to set the scene, we open in on the Barbeau Observatory in the Arctic Circle in February 2049 where we are told it has been three weeks since ‘The Event’. The Observatory is being evacuated chaotically, but Augustine (George Clooney) stays behind as menacing red circles appear over cities on maps on the computer monitors behind. Augustine is trying to contact the last mission away from the planet Æther to warn them when he finds that not everyone evacuated with a little girl Iris (Caoilinn Springall) being left behind.
On a production level, I liked the design of the Æther, I am not sure they would actually include this many non-practical elements on a real ship, but it is effective. This extends to both its internal and external designs. There are a lot of small touches like the design of the deck of cards that I like. Also, all the location work helps ground the film, which it needs. One production area that I don’t think worked as well is the musical score that more often than not took me out of the film rather than drawing me further in.
While there are some interesting production choices, there is a lot in this film that you have to handwave away, for example, there is a moon around Jupiter (K23) that we have somehow missed up to this point can sustain human life. Also, I am not sure why they are evacuating the Observatory at the start of the film if it is one of the safest places left on Earth? That somehow we have unexplored space between Jupiter and Earth. Why would they send an astronaut on a critical mission who has never space walked before?
Overall, I am just not sure the story works, and because of these things that would typically only be small problems are amplified. Why would NASA not tell the ship what was happening on Earth? Something that undermines the whole mystery at play in this film. This has a snowball effect for the rest of the narrative. So, while all these small character moments, like everyone suggesting baby names, it all falls flat because you have not bought into the film’s premise.
In the end, do we recommend The Midnight Sky? Unfortunately no. There are a lot of small little moments that stand out in the film. However, none of them makes up for a narrative that just fails to launch. If you liked The Midnight Sky, I would recommend to you The Martian.
By Brian MacNamara: You can follow Brian on Twitter Here, when he’s not chatting about Movies and TV, he’ll be talking about International Relations, or the Solar System.
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Credits – All images were created by the cast, crew, and production companies of The Midnight Sky
Directed by – George Clooney
Screenplay by – Mark L. Smith
Based on – Good Morning, Midnight by Lily Brooks-Dalton
Music by – Alexandre Desplat
Cinematography by – Martin Ruhe
Edited by – Stephen Mirrione
Production/Distribution Companies – Smokehouse, Anonymous Content & Netflix
Starring – George Clooney, Felicity Jones, David Oyelowo, Tiffany Boone, Demián Bichir, Kyle Chandler, Sophie Rundle, Tim Russ, Miriam Shor, Ethan Peck & Caoilinn Springall.
Rating – Australia: M; Canada: PG-13; Germany: 12; New Zealand: na; United Kingdom: 12A; United States: PG-13