Project Gemini (2022)
Highly questionable Russian sci-fi stab at sending humanity to the stars to terraform a new planet as the earth is dying from a lack of oxygen, with disastrous consequences.
The special effects are good and it often looks very pretty, usually from outside the spaceship in which this group of scientists and military personnel are travelling, carrying the worlds largest ping pong ball, recently discovered to be the source of all life on earth.
The film wants to be maybe another Alien, or Prometheus or, more tangentially, Life. Unfortunately, this is nowhere near good enough to count itself in the same league as any of them.
The plan to visit Tess, the planet chosen to terraform, being very close to having earth's properties fails, of course, and our intrepid world builders are lost, who knows where in space, but conveniently right next to another planet. Having no way home, the decision is made to use the magical ping pong ball of creation on this planet instead.
This is about as much as I could glean, really, with the amount of patience that I possess. There is a monster in it, but you only get a glimpse of it a couple of times. Seems like the budget didn't stretch to creature effects.
The acting is the worst thing about the whole thing, with foreign actors (Russian I assume, looking at the cast list) seemingly reading their lines directly from cards and then being given the intonation to emphasise. After that, if not convincing enough during the edit, it appears that some (but not all) of some (but not all) of the characters lines have been dubbed. This makes them look like they are speaking English, but the words are slightly off kilter. This is unusual and disconcerting, pulling you out of any immersion you may have been feeling.
As I say, this looks good and efforts have clearly been made to try and make it look the part, but the script (such as it is) is wooden, clunky and heavy.
The direction is haphazard too often and seems unpolished and hurried, like a good idea, just executed phenomenally badly.
This is a shame as I expect this was a promising idea on paper. To make the unbelievable believable, you need to be especially good convincing your audience. There is just way too much nonsense here which the film cannot legitimately explain away with the quality of its storytelling and the abilities of the cast and crew.
I gave it one star for the CGI. It would have had two for the effort, but I removed the second one for its glaring lack of foresight. The enthusiastic cinephile in me wants to say it was a good try, but the reviewer in me knows that this is not true. Not true enough, at least.