Score : 76/100
Watchable Minutes : 90 minutes. There was some fluff to this one and it killed the run time score.
Trailer Comparison : I feel bamboozled. The trailers put out for this movie made it seem like a faster paced thriller in a race against time. It didn’t quite match up with what the final product was. It leaves me feeling very lukewarm about it.
Movie or Film : The Midnight Sky tried so hard to be a film, but I think it fell short and is more comfortable in the movie category. The message here isn’t original – it’s just another nuclear disaster, pollution-bad type thing. Interstellar did it better.
- Run time : 118 minutes
- Studio : Netflix
- Director : George Clooney
- Where to Watch : Netflix
Weeks after the Event, an unknown disaster, humanity is on its last legs. In a final act of self preservation, the remnants of society flee for their lives in the arctic circle. Staying behind to run the last research station is Augustine, a dying man who wants to spend his last days alone to pay for the mistakes of his past. Soon after his self imposed exile begins, Augustine discovers that one of Earth’s last manned spaceships is on its way back from its expedition to find a habitable planet. Desperate to make contact with them, Augustine travels through the arctic circle to warn them that they are not returning to the same Earth they left behind.
The Midnight Sky tried valiantly to be a highly rated movie. I’m not sure where it went wrong. It would make sense if there was studio interference or if the source material was too open ended for it to turn out this way. It’s kind of disappointing, honestly. I had higher hopes.
The mechanics of this movie are all over the place. Let’s start with acting and George Clooney. He can act, and he can direct but I think it’s too much of a challenge to do both at the same time. I think if he had cast somebody else in the lead role, he could have spent more time fine tuning some of the weaker areas. He was very convincing as a decrepit old man, but I just couldn’t connect with him. I liked Felicity Jones in Rogue One but I’m not too familiar with the rest of her filmography to compare this with her other work. Her performance felt really flat. The same thing goes for the rest of the cast. David Oyelowo and Kyle Chandler have both played some fantastic roles in their careers but this movie is not one of their best.
There’s no major gripes with the editing here – everything flows nicely. The sound of the movie is pretty lackluster in the score department but the overall sound design is fine. It’s just generally forgettable and generic sci-fi with light uplifting hopeful tones followed by dark and heavy dramatic beats. Everything sounded super simplistic. The Midnight Sky suffers most in the visual department. It’s got some bad cinematography and set design. I get that the future will be 3D printed but the movie takes place in 2049 and there’s no way we’ll have items such as the stylized 3D printed rifles by then. It’s too distracting. The special effects and CGI are terrible. The scene on K23 was pitiful and jarring, even for a Netflix movie.
The story of The Midnight Sky should work and maybe the novel is better, as is so often the case. It’s not overly complex and is definitely in the realm of possibility. I didn’t have to suspend my disbelief all that much to watch it. It’s just a bit too dramatic in my opinion. The flow is fine, benefiting from the decent editing I mentioned above. The overall character development isn’t very prominent. I don’t think that Augustine grew all that much and none of the crew on the Aether made any adjustments.
I think that The Midnight Sky would have benefited greatly from having the lead role and director split up. There’s so many small areas that are suffering. With some more polish, I think this movie could have easily ended up in the mid 80s. In my opinion, Netflix tends to make the same mistakes with most of their original movies and it becomes difficult to justify watching these when I have the same complaints over and over again.
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