Voyagers: Film Review

Courtesy of Sky Cinema

Voyagers was originally due to be released in cinemas in July but then it disappeared off the schedule and has now been dumped on Sky Cinema.

The sci-fi thriller, written and directed by Neil Burger, is set in the year 2063, when a planet is discovered that could possibly sustain human life. A journey to the planet takes 86 years so the astronauts who go will need to reproduce on the ship and their grandchildren will be the ones who investigate the planet. Naturally, not many people want to sign up for this job, so children are made via genetic donors and raised with the sole purpose of the mission, supervised by Richard (Colin Farrell). The ship takes off when they are teenagers and everything runs smoothly until they discover they are being drugged by “the blue”, a drink that keeps them docile and rule-abiding. All hell breaks loose when they stop taking the blue.

I’m being deliberately reductive, but this film is basically The Lord of the Flies in space, as chaos reigns in the ship, all sense of law and order and the mission are lost and most of the teenagers give into their darker, more carnal desires to fight, kill and have sex, with the evil Zach (Fionn Whitehead) leading the charge of the savage pack, who ignore the pleas of the sensible chief officer Chris (Tye Sheridan) and chief medical officer Sela (Lily-Rose Depp).

I really liked the premise but I thought the story could have gone in a more interesting direction. The intriguing set-up had so much potential which was squandered in favour of a storyline that essentially descended into the sensible and reasonable crew members being hunted by the bigger and wilder pack. It wasn’t boring or anything, but I couldn’t shake the sense that there was a better story in there somewhere and more compelling themes to be explored.

Whitehead plays a convincing villain, a nasty piece of work who is so charming that he manages to gain control of the majority and get them to follow through on his orders, no matter how brutal they are. Sheridan and Depp are the voices of reason and the ones who try to get the mission back on track, although they know they’ll have to get their hands dirty to achieve their goal. They don’t have as much of a showy role as Whitehead but their performances were fine.

Voyagers has some solid thrills and is simply an okay watch – it had the potential to be so much greater than it is and ended up being a bit too familiar and simplistic.

On Sky Cinema from Friday 8th October

Rating: 3 out of 5.

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