Crater – Movie Review

TL;DR – A fun yet grounded film that knows when to pack an emotional punch.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Post-Credit Scene – There is no post-credit scene

Disclosure – I paid for the Disney+ service that viewed this film.

They look up at the blue gem of Earth in the sky.

Crater Review

I always look forward to an interesting new take on the science fiction world. Still, as we look out into the wide world, it has been nice to see something a bit closer to home get some of the limelight recently with Ad Astra, Moonfall, The Wandering Earth II, and more. The Moon, or Luna, benefits from being right there but just out of our grasp. It beckons from a time in our past and might also be a building block of our future. There are many stories to tell, and today we look at a fascinating combination of a coming-of-age film and a road trip movie, all outside the atmosphere.  

So to set the scene, up above the pale blue dot that is the Earth lives the Moon, and in 2257, it was home to the Lunar Mining Colony. As a meteor storm comes and lockdown is declared, we find that several people are not in their quarters but are in the process of stealing a rover. Caleb Channing (Isaiah Russell-Bailey) and his friends Addison Weaver (Mckenna Grace), Dylan (Billy Barratt), Borney (Orson Hong) & Marcus (Thomas Boyce) crack into the rover’s circuitry to try and hot-wire it. Caleb just lost his father, Michael (Scott Mescudi), in the mines and is about to be sent to the new Colony of Omega, 70 years away. Before he leaves in three days and never sees his friends again, the group decides to go on a road trip to the once place Caleb’s parents liked on Luna, a crater.  

The gang steal a rover.
They are the heart of the film and it works because of them. Image Credit: Disney+.

For a kid’s film, they hit remarkably close to home with their depiction of what a corporate town on the Moon would look like. The comment that “when my Dad started, he had to work off his father’s six years before he could even start on his twenty” was one of the most depressingly realistic moments I have seen, as were all the rich skipping the hard work and flying off to Omega and leaving Luna and Earth to rot. But then they are also kids, and 100% playing launch-off would have happened if people could, and they find the wonder and majesty of their home in a way that felt real. This balance connects you with this world and lets you get swept up in the story.

The next strength is, of course, the actors that make up the core gang. In this film, they have to do a lot of emotional heavy lifting as they explore deep and complex emotions around loss and guilt. That would have been difficult for seasoned performers, but they make it look easy. You felt their bond, their drive, so it felt natural that they would all band together to give their friend one last journey before the goodbye. I enjoyed the moments when they were trashing the model home with gusto. Those emotional moments have to land for this film to work, and they land all of them.  

An abandoned mega-city on the surface of The Moon
The production design was a true delight. Image Credit: Disney+.

From a production perspective, I loved the set design. It has a very particular vision but also feels grounded in reality. They also got the balance of a world that has to be perfect, or people die but also has been in industrial use for decades or longer. You see this clearly in the rover that blends practicalities and comfort in how you see big trucks today. The ruins they see on the surface have a grandeur to them that is elevated by the fact that they were abandoned. On that front, the surface of the Moon is wonderfully realised with the combination of practical sets and digital extensions. Which is all brought together by a joyous musical score that rises with you as you soar through the sky.

In the end, do we recommend Crater? Absolutely. This was a gem of a film and a unique take on a science fiction-style coming-of-age story. The cast, narrative, and production all came together to make something special, and you better believe I was in tears by the end. If you liked Crater, we would recommend to you Hunt for the Wilderpeople.  

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.

Have you watched Crater?, let us know what you thought in the comments below, feel free to share this review on any of the social medias and you can follow us
Here. Check out all our past reviews and articles Here, and have a happy day. 

Credits – All images were created by the cast, crew, and production companies of Crater
Directed by
– Kyle Patrick Alvarez
Written by – John Griffin
Music by – Dan Romer & Osei Essed
Cinematography by – Jas Shelton
Edited by – Jennifer Lilly & James W. Harrison III
Production/Distribution Companies – 21 Laps Entertainment & Disney+
Starring – Isaiah Russell-Bailey, Mckenna Grace, Billy Barratt, Orson Hong, Thomas Boyce, Scott Mescudi, Selenis Leyva, Carson Minnear, Viviana Chavez, Matthew Rimmer, Michael Papajohn, Hero Hunter, Brad Davidorf & Dann Florek
Rating – Australia: PG;


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