I’ve had so much luck with science fiction movies lately and Prospect is my latest discovery. After Cosmos and The Vast of The Night. It’s an adorably charming retro sci-fi flick with an interesting story and fully fleshed out world. The first quarter of the movie reminded me a lot of another indie gem Europa Report. The first thing you’re going to notice about it is the worn-out and realistic environment. The tools and the pod we find our characters in looks lived in and like it’s been through hell. This creates a very authentic atmosphere, especially since all the tools and computers look like they’re straight from Alien. Actually, Alien has more modern computers with screens and shit while Prospect technology is apparently analog in nature.
All the props and costumes for this movie are a product of hard work of a community of carpenters, mechanics, designers and cosplayers. And it fucking shows. Granted, I think they could have used at least some screens or similar technology paper seems like an expensive alternative in the future. After all, the budget for this movie was $4 million. Visuals were pretty good and believable, both in space and on the moon Bakhroma Green. Prospect, as its name suggests, is actually a space western. Outland starring Sean Connery is the most similar movie although Spacehunter: Adventures in the Forbidden Zone is pretty close. Although Spacehunter is more adventure-oriented than Prospect that focuses on a few characters on a pretty deserted planet.
Welcome to the world of tomorrow! It’s a bleak and ruthless world and we find our heroes aboard a space station orbiting a moon called Bakhroma Green. Although lush and green, it’s air is filled with poisonous particles that can lead to deadly infections. Damon and his teenage daughter Cee are about to land on its surface to look for rare minerals called orelak. A dangerous mission on an even more dangerous moon…
If you want to travel to a time and place far away from our own, Prospect is a great choice. It reminded me of my mining days in Elite: Dangerous, a video game that I’ve played for years now. The pacing is a bit slow and I think that the movie could have been more effective if they shaved off fifteen minutes or so from the final cut. Considering the basis for it was a fifteen-minute short film, they went a bit overboard setting up the atmosphere. However, that’s just one minor complaint and we can easily look past it. The rest of the movie is pure science fiction perfection.
The dialogues are well written and convincing. Actually, they were the reason why Pedro Pascal (Game of Thrones, The Mandalorian, Narcos) signed up. He really liked how his character was fleshed out. It’s the little things, man. Like in the beginning of the movie, Damon uses eye-drops just before he goes to sleep. I think that our writing duo knew that people are going to use marijuana in the future but you couldn’t just spark up a joint in the middle of a space station. I mean, we can’t all be Coolio in Dracula 3000. After he applies the eye-drops Damon starts laughing and his demeanor changes towards a familiar haze that I miss too much now.
The fact that this is a science fiction movie focusing on the lives of ordinary people instead of some intergalactic heroes is so refreshing. And not only refreshing but also very immersive. It’s much easier to imagine yourself mining on some godforsaken planet than saving the galaxy from whatever threat. Like Belters from the television show The Expanse. Compared to infinitely more expensive and supported science fiction movies with similar settings like Annihilation, Prospect shines with its simplicity and honesty. Not to mention unpretentiousness.
Directors: Christopher Caldwell, Zeek Earl
Writers: Christopher Caldwell, Zeek Earl
Cast: Sophie Thatcher, Jay Duplass, Pedro Pascal, Andre Royo, Doug Dawson, Sheila Vand, Anwan Glover
Fun Facts: The characters reference needing to get to the slingback. When the commuter freighter that carries the passengers approaches the green moon, the drop pods descend to the planet. The freighter then orbits around the backside of the green moon. Once it makes a 360 degree turn back to the way it came, the drop pods are able to reconnect and travel back to Central. The “sling” in slingback presumably refers to the way spacecraft use the gravity of planets to gain speed and slingshot toward their destination.