Moonshot

Starring: Cole Sprouts, Lana Condor, an Zach Braff.

Directed By: Christopher Winterbauer

Where I Watched It: HBO MAX

English Audio Description Available: Yes

Narrated By: Nicole Zanzarella

Description Provided By Deluxe

The Plot: In what I can only assume is the sequel to moon fall, Walt (Sprouts) is an insufferably average doofus who lives in a time when Mars has been colonized, and the only people who get to go are either rich, or worthy, neither of which apply to him. This doesn’t stop him from applying 37 times to go to Mars. One night at a party, he meets a girl who is on her last night on Earth, and then he pines after her once she’s left. So he decides when another girl he has tormented (Condor) is about to head to Mars, to hide as a stowaway so that he can meet his true love, that he has only known for one night. And this is a romcom.

What Works: Even though by all accounts the film is bad, it has this goofy charm to it, almost like its idiotic male lead. It’s like some poor puppy that you just can’t stay mad at. I found numerous problems, and found myself consistently wanting the movie to end, but yet I can’t say that I absolutely hated this film.

It’s so lighthearted it’s easy to take. It’s like day old cotton candy. not as fresh, but it’ll do maybe in a pinch. Lana Condor is fun, Zach Braff is very Brafy (if that’s a thing) in his role. And the robots can be funny at times. The film also reminds us that it knows Walt is useless and stupid on several points, almost like it’s trying to be meta. And, I liked the moments that felt like a nod to previous sci-fi classics, like a brief 2001 shoutout, and a cat named Ripley.

What Doesn’t Work: Walt is just so dumb. He’s gratingly dumb at times. Like, first of all, it’s a bit much that we have to root for this guy. We know he wants to go to Mars, then he meets a girl that just solidifies his desire to stalk her to Mars. So then he basically makes another girl an accomplice in his smuggling operation, and when she notices he’s on board, she still tries to help him by hiding him in her room, though this dude refuses to actually hide. He even balks at the suggestion, even though his previous plan was to hide in an air duct for a month.

Then, we’re supposed to root for these two? To get together? This guy isn’t smart, and he’s stalking people off planet. That’s intense. Stalking someone to a new town or a new state would be a lot, but he spent one night hanging out with a girl, so he breaks onto a spaceship and flies to Mars to follow her?

And this is the romantic lead? This is what we’re selling to women now as men to swoon over? The future of romcoms is dead.

The Blind Perspective: They really focused the narration on the lighter romcom side of things, and less on the science fiction parts. There are robots that never get described. I have no idea what they look like, and that’s a shame.

Sophie gets on this spaceship, and she’s in one location for the launch, then she just starts wandering around the ship, and immediately I realize I do not know what this ship is. how big is it? What does it look like? How many people are on board? They spend enough time on the ship, my brain started filling in some of that like a bad version of Mad Libs, but the audio description really tries to ignore the cool visual effects of this also being a sci-fi romcom.

Even when we get to Mars, the description of the colony is weak. We’re seeing characters walk into their rooms, or their houses, but what does this entire thing look like? What is the totality of all these people moving here? Did they build this stuff to look like earth homes, or something else?

I’m willing to acknowledge that if you do not care about the science fiction element of this film, then the description is adequate. As description for a romantic comedy, it gives you all the right beats at the right times, but as description for a science fiction film, this is almost a critical failure.

Final Thoughts: The title, by the way, makes no sense. I don’t even remember them mentioning the Moon. Everything is about heading to Mars. And you would think that just a month after the massive failure of a film called Moonfall, you wouldn’t want to confuse your potential audience with a film uselessly called moonshot.

There was a moment in the film where Walt had his journal and it said something like Walt and Sophie’s Impossible List, and I thought that was even a better title, and more appropriate than moonshot.

But then again, I think the Greg Berlanti team behind this, realized this director was biting off more than he could chew in his first feature, and New Line and Warner Bros just gave up and dumped this onto HBO MAX to boost original programming.

It’s a shame that the film is just such a mess, because I love Lana Condor, and I want her career to continue to blossom. However, this won’t help anything. This is very much a missed shot.

Final Grade: C-

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