Starring: James Badge Dale, Emily Mortimer, Max Martini, Clayne Crawford, Bruce Greenwood
Directed By: Nic Mathieu
Plot: Set in the near future in a war between the US and insurgents in a war torn country. When the soldiers start being attacked by a mysterious force, a scientist (Dale) is called in to help explain what can’t be explained, and win a war against something we don’t know how to fight.
What Works: Actually, this one is pretty good. Good for Netflix for recognizing that this was a quality pick up for them. Spectral was originally supposed to go to theatres, but I guess the lack of stars caused its original studio to lose faith in the project. It’s a shame, because this is actually an entertaining sci-fi action film that could have done well with the right word of mouth. A very capable cast of recognizable faces does a good job, and the special effects aren’t bad either.
What Doesn’t Work: Even though the film tries really hard to be a thoughtful sci-fi film, it gets a little silly with the science. I mean, they make a ton of weapons from scrap in a matter of hours? Really? It does require a little stretch of imagination to enjoy this film. It’s slightly more disappointing considering it seems to be angling for “smart sci-fi”, but chooses to cut a few corners along the way.
Final Word: If you have Netflix, you’re already paying for it. It’s a good use of time, especially if you’re into the sci-fi action genre already. I’m surprised this didn’t go to theatres, but our times are changing. No longer do only bad films skip theatres. Netflix has put out a few films this year that challenge that notion, and in a few years, we’ll accept it as the norm. Spectral should have been allowed a big screen to shine on, but instead let it shine at home.
Final Grade: B+