Crater depicts the story of a boy named Caleb (Isaiah Russell-Bailey), a teenager in 2257. He lives on the moon, as many of Earth have since moved there to mine for resources, following humanity’s failure to colonize it. But once on the moon, these people soon dream of moving to another planet called Omega. See, they take these jobs as miners and work for 20 years on the moon, in order to afford to go to Omega.
Caleb’s father was one of these miners, but unfortunately died on the job. He’d previously told his son to promise him to go see the crater on the moon in his lifetime. Since his father’s passing, Caleb gets to go to Omega, as a part of the program. He convinces his friends Dylan, Borney, Marcus, and Addison, to join him as he sets out to fulfill his promise to his father. The film takes the viewer along with the group of teens, as they venture into the unknown regions of the moon and what that all entails.
The world-building in Crater, along with the chemistry of the cast, are the main two strong suits of the film. The story is quite imaginative and different from a lot of space films out there, and the way it unravels takes interesting and unexpected turns along the way. Sure, it can feel a bit cliché at times, but it ultimately stands as an enjoyable and entertaining watch.
The film illustrates the inequality present in society by showing how many on the moon journeyed there to be miners, before they’re able to head to Omega, while wealthier people simply buy their way to the esteemed planet. And on the kids’ adventure, they pass unfinished cities and other abandoned projects on the moon’s surface. The exploration of these themes add oomph and significance to the film’s screenplay.
Along with Russell-Bailey in the lead, Mckenna Grace, Billy Barratt, Orson Hong, and Thomas Boyce fill the roles of Caleb’s friends, Addison, Dylan, Borney, and Marcus respectively. The five charm as a believable group of teenage friends, and each portray the differing personalities of these characters well. The fact that everyone in this group of actors are actually teens—unlike some teen flicks and shows, which often feature actors in their 20s and sometimes 30s as teens—is a big plus as well, adding to the likeability and realism of the film. And although the script may not be the strongest, with a lot of the dialogue feeling a bit too unnatural and even a tad too mature for the characters, these talented actors bring their A game to the screen.
Other worthwhile aspects of Crater include its production design and VFX. For a direct-to-streaming film, it was a bit shocking how well-done the visuals were. There were no significantly dodgy CGI moments and some parts felt surprisingly realistic. These lifelike aspects make for an all the more enjoyable experience.
So although the script for Crater might not be particularly strong overall, there is enough substance present to recommend it. It’s not a perfect film, but it’s more worthwhile than a handful of blockbusters out there today.
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Dodgy script moments aside, Crater is a worthwhile space film full of excitement, with a wonderful message at the centre of it.
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