Film reviews

#572 – Crater (2023)

Crater (2023)

Film review #572

Director: Kyle Patrick Alvarez

SYNOPSIS: In a mining colony on the moon, Caleb Channing is about to be shipped to the new colony of Omega, after his Father dies in a mining accident, and he is allowed to go. However, this means leaving his friends behind, which he does not want to do. Caleb also wants to fulfil his Dad’s last wish and go to a crater outside of the colony, so they decide to steal a lunar rover and head out on a road trip across the moon…

THOUGHTS/ANALYSIS: Crater is a 2023 sci-film. The film takes place in 2257 on a mining colony on the Moon, where teenager Caleb Channing is about to be transported to the colony planet Omega, after his Father died in an accident and as a result his family is allowed to take the seventy five year trip in cryostasis to reach the new planet. However, Caleb doesn’t want to go and leave his friends behind. Alongside this, his father told him his dying wish was for him to visit a crater outside of the colony on the lunar surface to see something. To this end, Caleb and his friends plan to steal a lunar rover and travel outside the colony to see the crater before he has to go away forever. The film is a sci-fi twist on the classic teen coming of age adventure, such as The Goonies and Stand by Me. It follows the formula well, and has all the necessary beats to fulfil it’s objective. The sci-fi setting gives it an interesting twist, although at it’s core it focuses on the characters and their adventure: the setting is simple enough to understand and follow, and doesn’t interfere with that. There’s a lot of convenient coincidences that make everything possible, such as a meteor shower happening when they are planning to escape so that means no one can go after them, but you can overlook that for the most part. There’s times where the film feels a bit too on-the-rails for an adventure, as it doesn’t have the capacity to deviate too much from it’s destination (being in a lunar rover, they can’t really just wander off and find anything new on the Moon), and the flashback narration from Caleb’s dad sometimes is a bit overbearing in hammering home what this trip is supposed to be does seem to be a bit counterproductive in celebrating these kid’s freedom, but is not a huge problem, and the film stands on it’s own for the most part.

The cast of Caleb and his friends are diverse and interesting enough, and give strong performances throughout, which creates a good connection between the characters. Each of them has their own issues and outlooks that bring something to the trip, and there’s some conflict between the characters, but it’s very minimal. We don’t learn everything about the characters, and that’s fine, because we’re just enjoying this journey with them. There’s a message about environmentalism and worker’s rights that runs throughout the film, but it keeps it subtle, letting it play off a little more in the finale when the journey is over. The ending is a jump, but one that doesn’t diminish or write off the impact of what it does, and gives just enough to keep things hopeful.

The film looks pretty good, with a consistent sci-fi aesthetic that feels used and worn, without it looking too cheap or hokey. The CG isn’t top notch, but again, that’s just a small thing you can overlook. All in all, Crater is a decent adventure that takes it’s subject matter seriously, although this might be a bit too serious for it’s target audience. The adventure is fun and easy to follow, the performances are pretty good, and while there are some issues with the film, they are mostly easily overlooked, and don’t detract from the experience.