hopscotchee: lily-rose depp score: 56 rating: pg-13 time: 108 minutes
NOW!! before we launch into the voyage that is voyagers, it is best to state that for the likely case you have no clue what the heck this movie is (easily excusable given that it came out in the middle of the f-ing pandemic and people had *shocker* other things on the brain), all you need to know for the lil 'catch-me-up' is that it's basically lord of the flies in space. our words, not their's, but take it from the guardian too, cuz they also called it 'lord of the flies in space', but a "horny lord of the flies in space" at that. AND similarly to how the beloved franchise alien was pitched as 'jaws in space', let's just say, unfortunately for voyagers, 'beloved franchise' might not be so similar. not saying the film had nothing that should be beloved - like, hello, fionn whitehead is in the movie - but beyond that...meh. it's slim pickings. but luckily for y'all, we've got three chunky and juicy 'meh's to talk about.
seven seconds. that's all it takes to form a first impression - or so the peeps from university of york say. anyway, so, when (not even a minute into the show) we get insulted with a cheese bomb punch line that reeks of infopacket, it's not promising....but we can forgive that - it's one line and maybe happens three or four more times, but it's not the entire film. we can just knock a few points off script - but nnnnoooo. script isn't just dialogue, it's also story and development of the plot and characters. so, when it took rich-ard (collin farrell) 40-so-odd years to find a habitable planet, but no time to explain his motivation for going on the journey with the kids, this wasn't so forgivable. like, he's the first character we really get to know, and we still don't know anything about him!! and this carries through the entire film, so (needless to say) we took more than a few points off for the discombobulated amount of jumps in the story. however, we will say, we could see were the writers were coming from. not with the richard part but the lack of intimacy with all the characters, because this could've been tied to the blue. then again, this poses questions like (spoiler) was sela still taking the blue when her other peers went off of it, since we never saw her physical stop drinking it but she managed to 'fall in love' with christopher?? or how could characters understand some things like drugs and partying but not other things like turbulence when when drinking the blue only subdued pleasure and not knowledge?? so make of that what you will.
2. SHOT COMP
aside from plot holes and jumps in the script, the visual story was seamless on the outside but lacked purpose on the inside. and unless someone can argue why introducing christopher (tye sheridan)'s character with a shot of his finger nails/cuticles was the best and most meaningful shot they could've done, our opinion is going to stay the same. we're not saying that every shot in a movie has to be metaphorical-art-snob-sheesh-y but it adds to the film if each shot is planned out for a reason - whether that be for the character's mood or storyline development - rather than 'oh that's a funky angle, let's do that - it's a sci-fi people will think it's cool' which voyagers felt like they did in most cases. secondly, the quick montage of stock-footage-like clips, while layered with a fade in of music, felt really abrupt to the story, taking the viewer out of the setting multiple times (as they used the stock-footage-like clips about four times during the film). and despite it cleverly incorporating bright colors that contrasted from the typical white and blue mundane space-ship, it couldn't help but have an other-wordly feel to it, since it literally took you to a completely different place and was shot in a different frame rate (different quality of footage).
ending the mehs, we will end with the transitions in the editing. creating big oofs for the film, it not only added to taking the audience out of the story, but failed in consistency, throwing in a random cross dissolve only to continue fading with fade-to-blacks. but if not more, equally disruptive to the editing of the story was the piercing audio they captured for the gun shots at the end of the film. like, that was just rude. loud's fine. piercing, where no matter who you are or what your knowledge of film is, you know the audio levels are way above the 'red' section of the audio level is a no-no in any movie.
we can only assume that this film was on the struggs bus (struggle bus) due to limitations on set due to covid (maybe they had to use stock footage bc of lack of set time, maybe it was a rush to edit and they had to fill the story holes with a beaucoup of fade to blacks) - who knows. but we will end on this, watching this a year later from when we saw it in the theater, we will say that for a pandemic film - it was everything an audience needed to get out of the house and enjoy 108 minutes of their day. was it the best 108 minutes ever?? no. but it was what we needed at a time in history. and a year ago it held up enough to work.
-- thanks, lily xo