Review by Adam Donato
Attempting to ride in the wake of Godzilla Vs. Kong, Voyagers is set to endeavor through the pandemic landscape at the box office. Notable stars Colin Farrell and Tye Sheridan lead the way in this science fiction piece. Neil Burger, director of The Illusionist, Limitless, The Upside, and… Divergent. Yes, Voyagers blends very well in the teenage, post-apocalyptic genre built by book franchises like Divergent and The Hunger Games. A couple of dozen teens discovering their human urges in space. It’s like Nerve, especially with all the neon marketing. This movie is not based on a book, but it was described as “Lord of the Flies in space.”
The best and worst part about the movie is the concept. What a rich science fiction concept to dive into. The problem is that this movie is made for general audiences and the target audience is teens. Of course, the teens would spend the majority of their newfound humanity wrestling and dry humping each other, but playing with the philosophical ideas at hand would be so much more interesting. To put it in simpler words, there’s too much fat and not enough meat on the bones. It’s conflicting to analyze since it makes sense why the plot delves into base human instincts, but the story and dialogue suffer because of it.
Furthermore, the concept of the movie gets in the way of the characters during the first act. The trailer shows that the blue drink they consume has medication that suppresses their human urges. This makes everybody a robot for almost half the movie. It isn’t until shit hits the fan that things get more interesting. The problem with that is that everybody is so stupid. This isn’t wrong, that is because of course, everyone would make poor decisions in the state the crew becomes when they cease taking the medication. The dialogue becomes infantile, to say the least. Therefore, it’s frustrating for the movie not to focus on the ideas being presented, but it makes sense why there’s more ruckus than a philosophical debate.
Weirdly enough, this movie should’ve been crazier. The most intriguing moments are when the audience is forced to just watch their order delve into chaos. With all the flawed logic and lack of self-awareness, it’s quite a riot. It feels almost unfair to criticize for not capitalizing on an already interesting movie. This will leave the audience wanting more from what happened in the story, but that’s not entirely a bad thing. Bumping up the runtime another thirty minutes wouldn’t be the answer for the type of movie that’s being presented here. Speaking of wanting more, the ending is so rushed that one would almost wish there was a sequel. The implications of everything that’s happening are so ripe with potential. Then again, not every movie can be 12 Angry Men, where all the characters just sit and talk for two hours.
Voyagers is not as smart as it thinks that it is and it isn’t as smart as the hungry science fiction fan would want it to be. Just imagine if Interstellar had a vampire baby with Twilight and that’s Voyagers. There are so many ideas presented that are probably more well developed in other movies, but for what it is, it’s a good time. Some middle school child is gonna go on a first date to this movie and wonder how they’re gonna lean in to kiss their date if their date is wearing a mask. It’s not as bad as Chaos Walking and with limited theatrical selections at play, this is really all you got if you don’t like giant monster fights.
Voyagers hits theaters on April 9.