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Friday, March 1, 2024
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From: Silver Screen

‘Voyagers’ presents a strange, unsettling view of the future

‘Voyagers’ presents a strange, unsettling view of the future
Lily-Rose Depp as Sela in "Voyagers"

Voyagers” is draped in a blue tint and surrounded by a classic sci-fi score that presents an illusion that something deeper is happening on screen than what the film actually gives its audience. While it raises some interesting questions that humans are likely to face in the future, “Voyagers” does not explore them in a meaningful way.

Set in 2063, “Voyagers” introduces its audience to a future in which the Earth’s warming has made it nearly uninhabitable. As a result, scientists resolve to send a group of children, bred through eugenics and raised in a controlled environment, on a decades-long journey across the galaxy to colonize and populate a new planet in order to preserve the human race.

The majority of the movie takes place on a ship in which this group of mostly white and wholly creepy kids are being shepherded across the galaxy by Richard (Colin Farrell), one of the scientists who raised them. As they come of age on the ship, two boys in the group, Zac (Fionn Whitehead) and Christopher (Tye Sheridan), discover that they are being drugged to control their hormonal and emotional urges.

About 15 minutes into the film, Richard dies, and the rest of the movie unfolds into what can only be described as “Lord of the Flies” in space. The teenagers stop taking their daily drug dose and become overwhelmed by the emotions and sensations that have been suppressed their whole lives, leading them to act out in childish and aggressive ways.

“Voyagers” is definitely not boring, but it is more frustrating than it is thought-provoking. With a group of hormonal, angry young men leading the group into bloody chaos, it shows us that, even in a vacuum, toxic masculinity prevails. 

Whitehead plays an excellent villain — there was not a moment in the movie I didn’t despise his character — but the rest of the performances are at best mediocre and unsettling at their worst. Sheridan and Lily-Rose Depp, who plays Sela, mostly just stare blankly down the expansive, fluorescent halls of the ship. 

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The film presents a horrifying postulation of the future that feels at once distant and near. Its characters grapple with existential questions as they wonder how their lives have meaning, and why they should do good and be obedient as opposed to immoral and unruly.

The dialogue only explores these questions at the surface level. Where “Voyagers” has the potential to invoke some truly meaningful philosophical concepts, there remains only corny back-and-forths about morals.

The best and most inspiring message I can glean from this sci-fi-meets-coming-of-age film is that even when people are born with a specific and guided purpose in life, they still experience the same existential questioning as one who feels directionless. 

“Voyagers” seems to tell us that even if you are bred and raised for a clear and specific purpose, as humans, we occasionally feel randomly thrown into the world. 

“Voyagers” was released in theaters nationwide on April 9.

More from Silver Screen

 Hosts Sara Winick and Sydney Hsu introduce themselves and talk about their favorite TV shows. This episode includes fun facts, recommendations and personal connections. 

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