Voyagers

Voyagers

2021, PG-13, 108 min. Directed by Neil Burger. Starring Tye Sheridan, Lily-Rose Depp, Colin Farrell, Fionn Whitehead, Chanté Adams, Archie Madekwe, Isaac Hempstead Wright, Quintessa Swindell, Madison Hu.

REVIEWED By Josh Kupecki, Fri., April 9, 2021

If you’ve been paying attention to the world, to history, or to your own personal motivations, it becomes pretty clear that more often than not, humanity’s baser, compulsory urges are pulling the strings. Centuries of art and philosophy may have mapped out our nature and cautioned against misbegotten trajectories, but when reality increasingly eclipses Swift, Orwell, Atwood et al., those stories become downright quaint by comparison. A misanthropic worldview, perhaps, but healthy skepticism is standard issue in today’s mental toolkit. And while the “Lord of the Flies in space” premise of Voyagers has the obvious potential to examine trenchant and timeless issues of human nature, the resulting film is a toothless morality tale bereft of even a dash of uniqueness. Quaint, indeed.

In a thankfully brisk opening 10 minutes, we learn A) Earth in 2063 is dying, must find new planet; B) New planet is 86 years away, must genetically manufacture beings with the best DNA to send so their grandchildren can colonize new planet; C) Rigorous structure is needed so space kids don’t go crazy living entire life on spaceship, must send Colin Farrell as shepherd/father figure. The film cuts to a decade later, and the cute space kids are now the beautiful space teens. There is Christopher (Sheridan), earnest and thoughtful, the natural leader due to his reluctance to be one. There is Zac (Whitehead), mischievous and slightly cruel, the natural antagonist in the coming conflict. Completing the triangle is Sela (Depp), taciturn and somber, the natural catalyst to the dissolution of this social microcosm. Well, first there is the discovery of the drug that they’ve been given to numb them from their sex drives and impulse control. Farrell’s Richard attempts benevolent misdirection, but sows further dissension, and once he is removed, and the drug’s effect removed, the colony ship turns into every unsupervised teenage house party. Fights and chaste couplings are augmented by existential queries on the unimportance of their lives, and whether they should even continue their mission since their role in saving the human race is utterly thankless. Zac turns up the heat by manufacturing an alien presence on the ship, the classic fear and suspicion gambit, making everyone choose sides and setting up the third act.

Even forgetting the missed opportunities in Voyagers (there are many), the way the film does address these themes of civilization vs. savagery, man’s inherent evil, mob mentality is summed up in this exchange: “Why have they all gone crazy?” “Maybe they haven’t. Maybe this is what they’re really like.” Look, if you’re gonna hinge the movie on a line like that, you better be distracting us with wildly entertaining spaceship action. Not the case here, unfortunately, as mostly you’re just dabbing space movie bingo slots: secret weapons cache, something needed is conveniently destroyed, scurrying around in ducts, and ever the center square, climactic airlock confrontation. More thought seems to have gone into the future foodstuff and eating utensil design than in the narrative. It’s a lazy film, one whose future will most likely live on in mediocre undergraduate term papers. Oh, the humanity.

Showtimes

Mon., April 19

3:15, 6:20

Alamo Drafthouse Slaughter Lane

5701 W. Slaughter, 512/861-7060, drafthouse.com/austin/theater/slaughter-lane

Showtimes at this venue are subject to frequent change. Please confirm daily times by phone or website.

Mon., April 19

4:15, 7:25

Mon., April 19

3:35, 6:40

Tue., April 20

6:00

AMC Dine-In Tech Ridge 10

12625 N. I-35, 512/640-1533, www.amctheatres.com

Mon., April 19

CC/DVS 6:40

Tue., April 20

CC/DVS 6:40

Wed., April 21

CC/DVS 6:40

Barton Creek Square (AMC)

2901 Capital of Texas Hwy. S., 512/306-1991, www.amctheatres.com

Matinee discounts available before 4pm daily. Bring Your Baby matinees the first Tuesday of every month.

Mon., April 19

CC/DVS 3:20, 5:35, 8:20

Tue., April 20

CC/DVS 3:20, 5:35, 8:20

Wed., April 21

CC/DVS 3:20, 5:35, 8:20

Cinemark 20 and XD

N. I-35 & FM 1825, 512/989-8535

Cost for 3-D and XD shows is regular ticket price plus a premium.

Mon., April 19

digital 4:20, 5:45, 7:10

Tue., April 20

digital 4:20, 5:45, 7:10

Wed., April 21

digital 4:20, 5:45, 7:10

Cinemark Cedar Park

1335 E. Whitestone, Cedar Park, 800/326-3264

Call theatre for complete list of movies and showtimes.

Mon., April 19

digital 4:40, 7:20

Tue., April 20

digital 4:40, 7:20

Wed., April 21

digital 4:40, 7:20

Thu., April 22

digital 4:05

Cinemark Round Rock

4401 N. I-35, Round Rock, 800/326-3264

Cost for 3-D shows is regular ticket price plus a $3.50 premium. Call theatre for complete March 26-28 showtimes.

Mon., April 19

digital 7:10

Tue., April 20

digital 7:10

Wed., April 21

digital 7:10

Thu., April 22

digital 7:10

Cinemark Southpark Meadows

9900 S. I-35, 800/326-3264

Cost for 3-D shows is regular ticket price plus a $3.50 premium.

Mon., April 19

digital 4:35, 7:25

Tue., April 20

digital 4:35, 7:25

Wed., April 21

digital 4:10

Evo Cinemas Belterra

166 Hargraves Ste. A-100, 512/457-0700, www.evocinemas.com/drippingsprings

Mon., April 19

1:15, 4:15, 7:00

Tue., April 20

1:15, 4:15, 7:00

Wed., April 21

1:15, 4:15, 7:00

Thu., April 22

1:15, 4:15, 7:15

EVO Entertainment

3200 Kyle Crossing, Kyle, 512/523-9009, www.evo-entertainment.com

Mon., April 19

11:45am, 2:15, 5:00, 7:30

Tue., April 20

11:45am, 2:15, 5:00, 7:30

Wed., April 21

11:45am, 2:15, 5:00, 7:30

Thu., April 22

10:45am, 1:30, 4:05, 6:40

Film Alley Bastrop

1600 Chestnut St, Bastrop, 512/321-0123, bastrop.filmalley.net/

Mon., April 19

1:00, 4:00, 7:00

Tue., April 20

1:00, 4:00, 7:00

Wed., April 21

1:00, 4:00, 7:00

Moviehouse & Eatery

8300 FM 620 N., Bldg. B, 512/501-3520, www.themoviehouse.com/trails/

Mon., April 19

5:00, 8:00

Tue., April 20

5:00, 8:00

Wed., April 21

5:00, 8:00

Thu., April 22

5:00

Moviehouse & Eatery - Lantana Place

7415 Southwest Pkwy., Bldg. 7, 512/572-0770, www.themoviehouse.com/lantana/

Mon., April 19

4:15, 7:30

Tue., April 20

4:15, 7:30

Wed., April 21

4:15, 7:30

Thu., April 22

4:15, 7:30

Southwest Theaters at Lake Creek 7

13729 Research #1500, 512/291-3158, www.southwesttheaters.com

$6.50 children and senior tickets (all-day), $5 Tuesdays (all tickets), Bargain Matinees before 5pm daily.

Mon., April 19

4:50, 7:30

Tue., April 20

4:50, 7:30

Wed., April 21

4:50, 7:30

Thu., April 22

4:50, 7:30

Mon., April 19

1:00, 3:45, 6:30, 9:15

Tue., April 20

1:00, 3:45, 6:30, 9:15

Wed., April 21

1:00, 3:45, 6:30, 9:15

Thu., April 22

1:00, 3:45, 6:30, 9:15

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KEYWORDS FOR THIS FILM

Voyagers, Neil Burger, Tye Sheridan, Lily-Rose Depp, Colin Farrell, Fionn Whitehead, Chanté Adams, Archie Madekwe, Isaac Hempstead Wright, Quintessa Swindell, Madison Hu

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