Set in a dystopian future, Voyagers sees a group of young men and women who are bred for intelligence and obedience embark on an expedition to colonize a faraway planet. However, after uncovering some bitter truths about their lifestyle, they begin to go against their training and explore their primitive nature. What starts as an interesting and intriguing concept unfortunately turns into an uncomfortable, bland and lacklustre sci-fi movie that is a chore to get through.
Written by Becca Johnson
Featuring promising talent including Tye Sheridan (Ready Player One), Lily-Rose Depp (The King) and even Colin Farrell (In Bruges), Voyagers does feature many watchable performances. Every actor does their best with the material they’re given, and it’s the talent in front of the camera that keeps the movie afloat. It also boasts an aesthetically pleasing setting, with the set design of the ship appearing as sleek and stylish. The first act of the movie is fairly promising, as it allows us to get to know our characters and the roles they have in their dystopian world. However, it loses its flair when it aims to go further.
Unfortunately, the more our characters become consumed by lust and a hunger for power over the rest of the team, the more uncomfortable the viewing becomes. The performances float into over-acting territory, the teenagers do awful things to each other with no repercussions and although chaos is ensued upon all involved, it’s not an entertaining or interesting chaos to view. Much of the teenage angst feels forced, meaning their heightened emotions and drive don’t translate well or feel organic enough to invoke such feelings unto the audience.
Aside from becoming a creep-fest, the script fails to explore any intriguing or thought-provoking ideals. Sex is of course a running theme as these characters have just discovered their primitive natures, yet this has no fluidity and only ever hinted at queer romance or lust being possible. Although it gives a look into the exertion of power and humanity’s natural inclination to rule over others to be top dog, this merely turns into an excuse for shock factor and violent battles. The premise alone is likely one of the most intriguing of the year, yet the script played it too safe for a movie that has every excuse to be inventive. It was very predictable beat for beat, with no true sense of passion for the movie being made.
Strong visuals are a high point for Voyagers. Single location movies are always a bold choice, and when done right, they can really excel in invoking claustrophobia unto the audience. Unfortunately, Voyagers takes its unique premise and sleek setting and turns them into a predictable, creepy and boring experience that fails to use its talented cast to its advantage. For a movie that could’ve said a lot about our primitive natures and been very brave in the process, it played it much too safe and became one of the years biggest disappointments. The trailer seemed to promise something very different.