'Voyagers' explores disappointment in space
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'Voyagers' explores disappointment in space

The last half turns into "Among Us" with pleasure and power-obsessed teenagers, and that's not a good thing

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​Sela looks outside of an air duct on a spaceship in sci-fi thriller "Voyagers." Actor Lily-Rose Depp is wearing a bright yellow hazmat suit while peeking outside the air duct that opens to space.
Photo credit: Lionsgate

What happens when you artificially breed children, raise them in isolation and ship them into space to colonize a distant planet? Nothin good, that's for sure.

The psychological concept alone is a bad idea from the movie's scientists, and the character logic doesn't get better in sci-fi thriller "Voyagers."

Written and directed by Neil Burger, the film brings up an interesting premise on primitive, natural instincts but ultimately falls flat.

Voyagers (2021 Movie) Official Trailer – Tye Sheridan, Lily-Rose Depp www.youtube.com

The movie begins with a very bland character named Richard (Colin Farrell), one of the lead supervisors of the colonization project. Initially audiences don't know much about him except that he deeply cares for the children he babysits, especially Sela (Lily Rose-Depp). In fact, he cares so much that he's willing to go on a one-way space trip to lead them and speed up the project to launch earlier than planned.

Fast forward 10 years, and the kids are teenagers – the perfect age to start questioning authority and letting hormonal instincts run wild. But this is a calm ship with everyone assigned a role on the spacecraft. One day, Christopher (Tye Sheridan) and Zac (Fionn Whitehead) learn that the blue drink they ingest is actually inhibiting their pleasurable emotions and instincts. And as more teens learn the truth, the ship descends into chaos.

As engaging as the film is, it continues to disappoint into an "Among Us"-like finale. It baits audiences into thinking something different might happen when really the story goes exactly where one would predict. Within his first couple scenes, it's easy to see that Zac becomes the antagonist, and it's easy to spot other spoilers in the future.

And even though there are some decent performances, scenes mostly miss the mark with lazy writing and poor reactions. It seems illogical that these kids need to review an instruction manual for survival because they are trained from birth to follow orders and lead a ship on their own. The teens also make illogical decisions with no curiosity. In one scene Zac blasts a few locked doors with a weapon to chase after the protagonists. When the last door's window is covered, he doesn't think something looks off. Characters like Zac don't learn their lessons.

The overall tone of the film gives viewers whiplash as scenes flip-flop between life-and-death situations followed by calm scenes in which the characters act like they didn't just have a spaceship insurrection.

Maybe "Voyagers" is for some audiences, but others should follow their suspect gut feelings and skip it.

Score: 3/10

"Voyagers" premieres in theaters on Friday, April 9.

Follow the reporter on Twitter at @s_incorvaia.

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