Voyagers (2021) movie review
From Neil Burger, director of Divergent (2014), Voyagers follows a crew of young astronauts genetically engineered and bred to complete a mission from Earth to a new home, a voyage that will take 86 years to complete. Supervising them is Collin Farrell, who begins to come into conflict with the crew as they start to discover their suppressed emotions for the first time. Voyagers was released this past weekend to a below average reception, and will absolutely come in behind Godzilla vs. Kong at the box office.
Voyagers is- well I would expect nothing less from the guy who brought us Divergent. Honestly, and I’m sure you’ve read this already, but it’s just Lord of the Flies in space. Only problem is, it takes forever to decide that it wants to be Lord of the Flies in space. Now I have a feeling that a great many aren’t going to rush out to see Voyagers, but if you are thinking about it- maybe don’t?
Despite my fairly low expectations, Voyagers does start out strong, introducing a unique premise, a fairly interesting character in Collin Ferrell, and a bold editing style that goes hand in hand with things like the minimalistic score and set design. The film almost feels bland and lifeless early on, only giving the audiences bursts of color and life as the crew discovers it for themselves. Aaaaaaand then it keeps going, quickly abandoning the once compelling Fahrenheit 451 segment of the story.
Now the film does offer another interesting idea of two in the second act, offering the idea of blending more than a few classic sci-fi stories into this YA story in space. Until it quickly gives up on that and turns into Lord of the Flies. In space. And that COULD work, if the film weren’t so inconsistent! But it takes forever to pick a story, and by then I didn’t care about the characters of events. Why? Because most of the events don’t make sense and everyone in this movie is stupid. I mean, REALLY stupid.
“But wait, Ryan didn’t you say these teens are ‘genetically engineered and bred?'” Yes. Yes they are. In fact the film states very early on how smart these kids are supposed to be. They are so smart they figure out how their emotions are being repressed, but not smart enough to look at a video and believe it. I guess. And that’s where most of the problems stem from. When you look at the characters and how they should be able to rationally approach simply situations, even with their emotions very inconsistently running rampant, the very idea that this story turns into Lord of the Flies is utterly absurd.
Oh and remember that quality in editing early on? Goes away half way through. Does the score get more interesting as the film escalates? Nope. Which means the pacing goes from contemplative to boring real quick. Are the performances good? I guess, I don’t know. For the roles they are given, the performances are solid. But gosh I absolutely hated Fionn Whitehead in this movie. I know I’m supposed to, but I think his performance is one of the most confusingly overt performances I’ve seen. Just, not good. Then again, it’s not like this cast has been given alot to work with…
So in the end, Voyagers is a forgettable mess. The film tries hard early on, and could have committed to a genuinely interesting premise. Picture this… A crew of teenagers who are genetically engineered to complete a mission that, for them, is pointless. They don’t have a choice in the matter, but they are the only ones who could complete this mission. They discover that the government that created them and sent them are drugging them to keep their emotions repressed to control them, so they begin to act out. Collin Ferrell is in charge of them, and he does care about these kids. Except he must also ensure the safety of the mission. What happens next? See doesn’t that sound pretty interesting? And for 30 minutes, it is interesting. Sadly the film ditches that for a story that doesn’t even make sense. So is Voyagers a terrible film? Ah probably not. Is it worth seeing? Probably not, no. 4/10.
So Lord of the Space-Flies? Have you seen it? What did you think? And what would you have done to fix the story? Or did you think it was fine as-is? Be sure to leave a like or a comment below and let us know. And if you liked this review and you’d like to read more like it, let us know in the comments what we should talk about next!
-review by Ryan Prince