Sci-fi space movies are one of the most expensive film genres. mainly due to its description of galactic space. but this particular genre is mostly occupied by movies from big studios that missed the mark. in space movies, we only have a handful of movies that stick out. the common denominator in their low success rate is a weak script. while the creators get ambitious and invest lavishly in sets and visual effects, they fail to crack the script. To save money, Stowaway kept much of its events inside the shuttle, but the important question is, is it interesting enough?
a space shuttle, mts-42 commanded by marina barnett (toni collette) is heading to mars for a 2-year mission. The ship is boarded by two other astronauts: Zoe Levenson (anna kendrick), a medical researcher, and david kim (daniel dae kim), a biologist. david has been investigating some experiments with algae that he intends to grow on mars to create oxygen on the planet. that’s the goal of his mission.
Things get pretty complicated when they find an uninvited crew member, Michael Adams (Shamier Anderson) trapped in the ship’s panel. Michael is a stowaway, that is, a traveler who boards the ship as an intruder. michael was working as a launch support engineer and got stuck on the panel during launch.
full conflict comes when the marine commander informs the crew that cdra, a system that removes carbon dioxide from the air, was accidentally destroyed when michael’s body drifted away on the panel. as a result, the ship could only afford enough oxygen for 3 crew members and they had to make a quick decision regarding the uninvited guest.
important spoilers ahead
explanation of the ending of “stowaway”
marina asks david to use his experimental algae to create oxygen for the ship, but when his algae fail, the crew is left with only enough oxygen for 2 people on board.
Observing her devastating condition, Zoe insists on getting liquid oxygen from the launch vehicle suggested by mission control. the only problem is that to recover oxygen, an astronaut has to go out into space and perform extravehicular activity until they reach the launch vehicle. the method is extremely risky and untested, but zoe decides to go. Following her spirit, David accompanies her.
While returning with two cylinders, one slips out of Zoe’s hand. when they get to the ship, they realize that due to a faulty connection, that big tank keeps losing oxygen. they need the lost cylinder to save the ship and the passengers. So Zoe makes the ultimate sacrifice and exposes herself to extreme radiation to retrieve the cylinder left behind. in the end, she zoe saves her crew but fails to save herself.
Much of the movie takes place inside the shuttle with extremely realistic dialogue. words are too scientific and boring. There is only one hook point in the story and that is that, in a faulty spaceship, there are 4 people with sustainable oxygen supplies for only 2 people. the other two have to go. the point of conflict is captivating and quite terrifying in itself, but as a stowaway it fails to create the necessary emergency.
the script is too lousy and its characters were taken for granted. even after building so much backstory for the character through “words”, the film fails to build empathy for them. that is the most prominent defect of the entire film.
other than that, no artist captivates you enough. perhaps, they were not given enough space to do that. visually, only the last scenes are captivating and enchanting and represent the galactic images of the images. even the background score is heard and felt in those last moments. the stowaway is a movie that creates interest in its climax and in the remaining period, tests your patience.
Stowaway is a 2021 space science fiction film directed by joe penna. the movie is streaming on netflix.
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