Review by Adam Donato
Disney+ is such a strong player in the streaming wars due to their long catalog of classic films and latest blockbusters. Seldom does Disney+ put big money into a direct-to-streaming feature film that isn’t a sequel or reboot of some kind. Crater is an original film from the producers of Stranger Things. It cost just over $50 million to make, but don’t worry about the marketing budget because it’s almost nonexistent. Still, that’s a lot of money to pour into something you don’t have a lot of faith in. For Disney to quietly dump this on their streaming service, this must be a terrible movie, right?
Surprisingly not! Crater is a refreshing change of pace compared to cheap shots like Peter Pan & Wendy, Disenchanted, and Pinocchio. Its strength lies in its likable group of young rebels leading the way. There’s good chemistry all around. It feels like a bunch of teens naturally riffing with one another and some of it is genuinely funny. McKenna Grace previously worked with Stranger Things star Finn Wolfhard in Ghostbusters: Afterlife. She shares most of the spotlight here with Billy Barratt and Isaiah Russell-Bailey. The two play friends on a lunar mining colony who use the girl as an opportunity to break out and explore a crater on the moon. The standout in the group is Orson Hong, who had his own musical number in John Mulaney and the Sack Lunch Bunch. It seems the Stranger Things producers were able to recapture a little bit of the magic that made them famous.
This story is a whole lot of fun. It’s like when your friends would explore abandoned places. The stress of potentially getting caught. The jokes along the way. It’s truly a coming-of-age tale in space. Speaking of the science fiction element of the story, the special effects and production design are both solid. It’s a goo- looking movie compared to most live action family films. This is an extremely positive sounding review because Crater stands head and shoulders among its peers. The pre-teen demographic is the target and they’re sure to enjoy this, but it’s good enough to mildly entertain adults too. These characters, while fun, are not as memorable as peak movies in this genre like the recent It movies. Still, it’s a step in the right direction and it deserves more than Disney is marketing.
Crater is a good-time throwback to hanging out with your childhood friends. Its story and characters are relatable to youths and adults alike. With a solid cast and solid visuals, Crater is worth checking out on Disney+. Audiences vote for what they want more of with what they click to watch. This original feature is worth the risk of a lack of brand recognition.
Crater is now streaming on Disney+.