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The Midnight Sky - George Clooney sci-fi


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2 hours ago, monkeydog said:

Is the book good scifi?  The trailer made it look like moronic Netflix stuff like Titan and Io.  

At the heart of it, it's more about relationships and communication than the sci-fi/catastrophy element. It was diverting enough but I'm not sure it warranted the cinematic treatment. However some ropey books have made decent films, so who knows? 

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2 hours ago, ZOK said:

Yeah, I thought that trailer looked pretty dull and unimaginative.


Having said this, my tolerance bar for onscreen SF is pretty low since watching Raised By Wolves. If you’re not going to do something as fresh as that, why even bother?

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  • 1 month later...

It’s alright. Nothing you haven’t seen a thousand times already, this time in a slow freewheeling pace. It’s obvious what is coming from a mile away which made the end a bit flat and... oh. I was hoping for more.
 

5/10

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The main plot

Spoiler

was him realising what he had missed out on with his daughter, all the other stuff was wrapped around it. I enjoyed the space walk section

and like seeing how different films design spacecraft. It was no interstellar but was still a decent sci-fi film.

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I enjoyed the settings. I liked the idea. But it feels a bit wasted. A lot of what happens, particularly on the ship, seems like someone felt they needed all the classic space travel tropes and incidents. None of them added anything. It was at its best for me when the film reflected the astronomers response to the event... quiet reflection and uselessness.

 

Spoiler

The ice storms they hit were too well timed. Make contact... storm breaks antenna. All clear. Go outside, complete work... ice storm hits. Oh no. Shocker. It made me laugh rather than fear. Neither threatens to derail the film barrelling towards its eventual and slightly predictable conclusion (which was fine IMO). It just delays. Makes me tap my foot.

 

The space walk was fine in general but the death of someone predictable and too formulaic. Would the overall film be different if there was no injury or death? Not to me. In fact it’s be better, less time spent trying to make us feel for someone whose only connection was a convenient home movie prodded into the film 30 minutes earlier.


It’s a film I think could do with less in it. Let the size of it all wash over the characters and the viewer rather than filling it with ‘events’.

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It was a film where nothing happened. It felt like the middle of the story, struggling to be tense but with no reason why we should care about anyone. Felt like it wanted to be something in the middle of The Arrival and Gravity, and doesn't come near either of them. 

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I think George Clooney peaked with his charming, sadistic, dominating performance in From Dusk Till Dawn. 

 

There's probably Benjamin Button level feeling Clooney got from the book that suckered Fincher when he made his relative disaster. Or Clooney wanted to direct his Gravity. I thought The Midnight Sky didn't work on any level. It's almost so devoid of anything trying to criticize it by grasping at something isn't easy. 

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I thought this was quite a sober and gentle “sensible sci-fi” story. It struck me as a quiet, thoughtful film. The emotional journey through the various threads worked for me. It was clear where it was going from about the half way point but it didn’t rely on puzzlebox reveals so much as arrive at an emotional conclusion naturally. It’s more Solaris than Interstellar or Gravity. I liked it more than Ad Astra at any rate. 

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4 hours ago, Moz said:

I thought this was quite a sober and gentle “sensible sci-fi” story. It struck me as a quiet, thoughtful film. The emotional journey through the various threads worked for me. It was clear where it was going from about the half way point but it didn’t rely on puzzlebox reveals so much as arrive at an emotional conclusion naturally. It’s more Solaris than Interstellar or Gravity. I liked it more than Ad Astra at any rate. 

I can see this, but the whole Sci fi backdrop was utterly redundant to the main plot which was essentially man wishes he spent some time with his daughter. Fuck, it could have been a story from someone's death bed and still been the same. I thought this wanted the depth and resonance of Arrival and was nowhere near. 

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Watched it. Ponderous, overlong, not particularly engaging. The central twist is ruined by one or two things they did in the film...

 

Spoiler

Specifically the shots of the daughter crossing back into his bedroom and looking at the dead pilot. Also, the rescue from the cabin where she takes his coat and gun away from it...

 

They give us a view of her actions as if she is an independent actor, which is a shame because the cereal bowl was a nice touch that should have been built upon.

 

But mainly it was just disappointing. Clooney claimed it was a modern day On The Beach, which is a haunting and beautiful book that really analyses the human condition in the face of annihilation.

 

This was not that.

 

The final shot at the end was nice though

 

Spoiler

The two remaining crew, one going upstairs, the other downstairs. Together, forever, but alone. 

 

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7 hours ago, squirtle said:

I can see this, but the whole Sci fi backdrop was utterly redundant to the main plot which was essentially man wishes he spent some time with his daughter. Fuck, it could have been a story from someone's death bed and still been the same. I thought this wanted the depth and resonance of Arrival and was nowhere near. 


 

Spoiler

 

The culmination of the ship story was for the daughter to arrive back at earth and explain that she’d successfully established a colony and spent time off world, and describe this beautiful new biome to him. 

 

The important thing is that this actually validates his work and the decision he made. If he’d spent more time with her and his family at the cost of his job, the mission would likely not have been successful. She might never have gotten to go there, he’d never get to hear it described, and humanity would be out of options. It’s a much more bittersweet tale than “man regrets estranged daughter but then she’s nice to him so he dies happy”.

 

You’re left juggling a complex circular set of emotions in which he sacrifices his relationship with her out of a selfish desire to work, but that work results in the mission being a success, saving her life and allowing her to achieve and describe his dream to him. Great relief with great regret, great discovery and accomplishment with great cost to both of them, and great but selfish sacrifice ultimately paying off to save the day.

 

The lingering questions are whether it was worth it, how much stock we should put in our kids to continue our dreams, if it’s ever OK to abandon our responsibilities to pursue noble causes even if we create new opportunities and a better life for those we’ve abandoned. If we do that, do we deserve to have our dreams fulfilled by our estranged kids? If it ultimately saves them, was it worth it?

There’s no Nolan puzzlebox here, but rather an emotionally intelligent payoff which poses a complex circular question set of questions. The emotional arc of each character, the film itself and the separate threads paid off for me in the way I’ve described above.  
 

As far as the actual story on the ship, I was invested in the character relationships and the steps it took to get the ship back home. As a fan of The Expanse I like that sensible sci-fi tone and enjoyed simply watching events play out. Especially the spacewalk scene and the aftermath of that - both really well conceived and handled I thought. 

 

 

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my other half and her mum watched this (fortunately I decided to give it a swerve)

 

they said nothing happened for 2h and it was total shit - hope this considered review is helpful.

 

we'd just finished Raised By Wolves which we loved so my other half was disappointed as was hoping for more sci-fi goodness.

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I’d put this in the same boat as Solaris and Contact (but not as good). The majority of people are going to complain that nothing happens because they don’t really engage beyond surface plot points or consider the subtext and context of individual scenes. Then another big swathe of the audience are going to claim they “guessed the twist” as if it were a Nolan puzzlebox that lives and dies by a reveal the whole plot is awkwardly constructed around. Not to oversell it (I’d give it like, a 6/10) but it’s exactly the kind of sci-fi that doesn’t land for most.

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19 hours ago, Moz said:

I’d put this in the same boat as Solaris and Contact (but not as good). The majority of people are going to complain that nothing happens because they don’t really engage beyond surface plot points or consider the subtext and context of individual scenes. Then another big swathe of the audience are going to claim they “guessed the twist” as if it were a Nolan puzzlebox that lives and dies by a reveal the whole plot is awkwardly constructed around. Not to oversell it (I’d give it like, a 6/10) but it’s exactly the kind of sci-fi that doesn’t land for most.

I have no issue with those other films. This has more in common with The Arrival for me. The problem is that the advertising for it makes it look like a high octane action film which it most certainly is not. I went in with those expectations which coloured my opinion of it. However, I still maintain that the basic crux of this does not need the big event. That his work led to something that saves humanity could be a cure fire a disease or anything. The plot does not deserve the epic setting. And, as others have pointed out, the twist is undermined by bits of the film showing that character doing stuff. 

 

I have no problem with high concept Sci - fi, but this has other bigger issues than it just being a bit dull. 

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Thought this was ok, it played with some interesting themes which @Moz has described much more eloquently than I can. It did feel a bit like an early draft of a much better film though. Less convoluted peril for George on his journey through the ice would have been better for the overall tone of the film. I also enjoy just watching things happening in space! Loved the start of ad astra for that reason before that went pear shaped. 

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