The film “Voyagers” premiered this weekend. The new film is a sci-fi thriller set in space as a group of teenagers leave the dying planet Earth and begin in an interstellar mission to perpetuate the human race on another inhabited planet. The vast majority of the film actually takes place on a spaceship that has positive and negative sides from a directorial and production point of view. The environment also posed unique challenges that required some state-of-the-art cameras and lighting for effective shooting.
I don’t want to give anything about the film. Basically, Earth is dying and they have to find another planet. It will take a very long time to get to that – long enough that the original crew will not survive to see the new world. Children will be born during the mission and they will actually be the grandchildren of the original crew who will eventually come out on a new planet. Conflicts and chaos arise as teenagers in the original crew grapple with their hormones and how to cooperate and coexist.
They sum it up better than I do and make it sound much more convincing in the film’s official synopsis:
“Given the future of the human race, a group of young men and women, bred for intelligence and obedience, embark on an expedition to colonize a distant planet. But when they discover disturbing secrets about the mission, they defy their training and begin to explore their most primitive nature. As life on a ship boils down to chaos, they are devoured by fear, lust, and an insatiable hunger for power. Written and directed by Neil Burger (Limitless, Illusionist), starring Tye Sheridan (X-Men Franchise), Lily-Rose Depp (King), Fionn Whitehead (Dunkirk), Chanté Adams (Roxanne, Roxanne), Isaac Hempstead Wright (” Game of Thrones ”, Viveik Kalra (blinded by light), Archie Madekwe (Midsommar), Quintessa Swindell (“ Trinkets ”), Madison Hu (“ Bizaardvark ”) and Colin Farrell (Gentlemen). “
I had the opportunity to talk to Neil Burger, screenwriter and director of “Voyagers” – about making the film. Since most of the film takes place on a ship, it’s relatively light to special effects for a sci-fi thriller based in space. Except for a brief pre-launch on Earth and a spacewalk scene to repair the ship, almost everything else happens in the spaceship’s rooms and corridors. The overall feeling is very clean and sterile – like a film taking place in a laboratory or hospital environment.
On the one hand, the limited space and homogeneous nature of the spaceship simplify things in terms of scenery and overall production. At the same time, the narrow hallways and bright white surroundings are a challenge to shoot. Here comes the technology that saves the day.
The crew made extensive use of LED lighting – giving them a simple and centralized brightness control system as needed. They also used Sony VENICE cameras to allow them to capture scenes in cramped spaces such as hallways and spaceship crawling spaces.
Movies in the age of COVID-19
As more and more people are vaccinated and states return to some apparent state – some faster than they probably should be – one of the industries that wants to move beyond COVID-19 and get back to work as usual is the film industry. There have been various attempts to release movies directly into streaming or hybrid editions to watch and make streaming available in cinemas. Warner Brothers makes its box office movies available at the same time on HBO Max at no extra cost, while Disney is experimenting with streaming or hybrid releases that require a Disney + subscription and an additional surcharge. The jury still doesn’t know which is the best – or most lucrative model, but the recent release of Godzilla Vs. Kong “did extremely well both in cinemas and with the audience that broadcasts on HBO Max.
Should you see ‘Travelers’?
I had the opportunity to show the film, so I am in a position to help you answer this question.
I’m not a film critic by myself and I don’t pretend to play it on television … or the Internet, as the case may be. I don’t hyper-analyze dialogue, lighting, or directorial choices. I don’t see a movie that would dissect it. I just want to be entertained. That’s why I have a very simple barometer for movies – was it worth the money I spent and about two hours of my life?
With “Passengers”, the answer is a simple “Yes”. I’ve seen better science fiction and better thrillers. All in all, I was amused. There are some elements that make you think a little about human nature – and perhaps reflect a little on the divisions we face in society today. Still, the bottom line is that I enjoyed the film, I didn’t finish it and I regret giving up the time it took to watch it. If you are looking for something to do and have already seen “Godzilla Vs. Kong ”, I recommend you see“ Voyagers ”.