The subtext title for this film is of course: a space station as imagined from 1976. Setting the movie in the 70s is both a clever cost saving device, because it's a lot cheaper to simply use decors, furniture, props from the 70s) and a hommage to the only golden era Hollywood has ever known, the seventies. It was the one time Hollywood prefered to make meaningful quality films, (Parallax, Lolly Madonna, They shoot horses, Sergio Leone) over the bombastic superficial crap that came before and the meaningless crap that came after.
Of course many people will mistake this for a sci-fi movie. It is not. It's a straight drama, despite the occassional absurd moment, like with Dr. Bot. I do have a preference for less plot driven films because plots are like straight jackets: The struggle HAS TO be resolved, the boy NEEDS to get the girl, the killer SHALL be caught, the world WILL be saved etc. Why, oh why should we give in to the infantile yearning for plots? It doesn't challenge us one bit. The characters are being made fun of, sure, but that's more to demonstraty the banality of life, or it's absurdity, than to make us laugh.
Special mention: Kylie Rogers, who is the 10 year old veteran with 20 credits, including a TV show with 9 episode.
Her acting is deceptively natural, and if she overcomes the obstacle of her rather run-of-the-mill Barbie looks, she might be a big one a la Knightly or Adams.
Just saw Space Station 76. This review nails it. The best way to describe it is "entertainingly boring".
You know how those 1970s era Sci-Fi films tended to be kind of plodding? I don't just mean 2001, but something like Silent Running or Logan's Run or Space 1999 or anything else from that time. There might be action, but there was also a lot of nothin going on as well for long stretches?
This movie makes me wonder: is it possible to make a parody of something that is too clever, too accurate, and played too straight? While there are some funny moments (even some laugh-out-loud), some ironic moments, some tongue in cheek moments, some cringing moments... much of the time it's played so straight you could actually imagine it being made in 1976 almost exactly as is.
It is however fascinating from a production viewpoint. Everything about it from the models, the lighting, the set design, the camera direction, the pacing, absolutely everything, rings true for the 70s. I can't say it's a great film, but I will say it's worth watching, especially for film buffs who will appreciate what's going on.
Sympathetic audiences may be diverted by Space Station 76's period design and skilled performances, and by the mystery of what exactly the filmmakers are going for. (The less sympathetic may just ask what the point is.)
I loved the retro futurist premise and all the performances, but it was a film that buried its dry, often very witty humor under such a deep layer of, myriad, human melancholia that it becomes a difficult viewing experience at times. There is a Mad Men-like view of attitudes and demeanors drawn from our recent past that are played more for laughs (possibly? it's not clear), but ultimately make for the most uncomfortable moments of the film. Maybe Patrick Wilson's workplace proclivity is informing his audience on how best to view the film: with mug full of brandy.
But there are great moments, especially as the 70s soundtrack was pumped in to this anachronistic paradox of a setting, and the cast was wonderful. I hope movies like this continue to be made. I didn't ultimately love the film, but it was the first time in years I was genuinely excited to sit down and watch a film, and that was a good feeling.
In order to appreciate or even enjoy this film you almost have to know beforehand what happened to movies after 1977. You see films like Star Wars and then Raiders of the Lost Ark cranked up the pace and excitement level so much that films of this style ceased to exist. There was this small pocket of time post 2001 and pre George Lucas where these cheaply made space melodramas were released. Because of that some 40 years later we have this film...
Now on Space Station 76 it was an extremely interesting ride back in time. I am just not sure it was a place I wanted to revisit. I will give kudos to the prop department bringing in just about everything authentic you can think of from that era. I kinda liked it for that reason. I could not imagine anyone born after 1979 having any kind of interest in this film though. Watch at your own risk.
See it but don't expect to have good time.
It's all one big visual joke. It's a funny joke but isn't strong enough to sustain the mundane domestic dramedy tacked on.
It's clear this script was built by committee. The compromises in the overall vision of "what this is" are clear.
I love the fact that this movie exists but I didn't enjoy watching it very much.
This movie is neither a comedy (not even a black comedy it's billed as) nor a sci-fi flick. The plot, whatever little of it exists, is essentially the same tired commentary on the existential angst in the American suburbs. The movie just crawls along, and one keeps watching hoping for something to happen, hoping for some payoff. It never comes. The ending is so unsatisfactory, you want to reach out and strangle the director for wasting an hour and a half of your life. The only reason I don't give it a 0 is because of the tremendous attention to detail that went into recreating the seventies. Other than the polished special effects, the movie looks and feels as if it came from that decade.
I don't know what they were trying to achieve with this film... but the result is the worst... thing... ever. Not 0 out of 10 as I can see some effort went into... whatever it was they were trying to do with this. But whatever it was, it epically failed.