"The story is dull and stagnant when it should be nothing but extraordinary. Crater takes itself too seriously."
BY M.N.MILLER MAY 12, 2023
Crater is a movie built purely for evergreen streaming use for decades. A bottleneck film with a limited cast and underrated special effects, the film is a coming-of-age tale with likable young actors but a script from the same recycled material we see in the genre year after year, no matter the setting.
We are well into the 23rd century, and the story follows Caleb Channing, an extraordinarily mature young man about to be shipped to Omega, a new planet colonized by Earthlings. You see, Caleb's father (played by Kid Cudi) died along with his mother years ago, and Caleb is the only member of his family left on the lunar colony. His father's last wish was for his son to visit a crater shrouded in mystery.
Caleb doesn't want to go because he will be cryogenically frozen, and the trip takes seventy-five years. By the time his friends make it over, they will be old, if not dead. That includes his best friend Dylan (Billy Barratt) and their inner circle, which consists of the ever-anxious Borney (Orson Hong) and Marcus (Thomas Boyce), who has health issues.
Adding to the genre cliches and throwing a monkey wrench into the equation is Addison (Mckenna Grace), a wise young woman passionate about helping the disadvantaged lunar colony populations. They recruit Addison to help them steal a rover so they can visit the legendary crater and create a lasting memory before Caleb leaves them for good.
Kyle Patrick Alvarez was an odd choice to direct Crater. The man is responsible for heavy-handed emotional efforts like 2015’s The Stanford Prison Experiment and Netflix’s 13 Reasons Why, which doesn't precisely scream "mouse-approved family film". Perhaps this is an effort to get something more mainstream on his resume.
The script from John Griffin delves extraordinarily little into actual human emotion, especially for young adult characters going through such heavy traumatic moments. Griffin’s writing is full of tropes, including Grace’s Addison apologizing three times for things she didn’t know about and her uptight character.
The characters are two-dimensional and hollow. You also have these kids inconsistently acting like adults when they should be acting like the adolescents they are. There are also inexplicable moments that don’t make sense, like why the crater is there in the first place, or when coming up on a model home, it appears it is being pumped full of oxygen despite being abandoned for decades.
Crater’s aspirations are greater than its execution. A film made for the cinematic search engine optimization age that may have lasting legs, the story is dull and stagnant when it should be nothing but extraordinary. Crater takes itself too seriously.