It goes without saying this is riddled with spoilers. It is one gigantic spoiler. Spoilery spoiler spoil spoil. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.
We open with the classic ‘old lady reminiscing’ shot, just like in Titanic, except disappointingly it doesn’t then segue into her as a young hottie running through the corridors of a space station, VOing ‘They called it the spaceship of dreams, but to me it was a slaveship, taking me back in chains, metaphorical chains of course because I don’t want to marry a rich dude, I’ m not actually fettered in the hold like the people in this totally non-offensive metaphor I am constructing’. (*Goes off the write Titanic 2: Spaceship of Dreams*)
Then we go back to the past/future where Matthew McConnaugheeeeeeeey is a pilot turned farmer who lives in a set left over from M Night Shamamalamamam film Signs with his kids and serial-killer turned kindly Grandpop John Lithgoe. There then follows a lengthy into of which the gist is ‘everything is hella dusty and bad because: SCIENCE’ and MMcC acts like an arse and practically chants USA! USA! over the burning husks of the crops and gets his daughter suspended from school.
Then after some more confusing SCIENCE MMcC and daughter discover a Top Sekkrit facility conveniently near their home (well, it has a fence round it) and very easily gain access. It is run by Michael Caine in a cardy and no one is surprised or annoyed that people found them and broke in. it’s all like ‘Oh hey Matty, welcome to our Top Sekkrit bunker, and since you’re here now wanna go into space LOL!’
It is never explained why they all know each other already. Then Michael Caine’s cardy acts MMcC off the screen as it explains the world is dying because: SCIENCE and we need to go into space and find another planet. MMcC takes approximately 0.3 seconds to agree to this.
‘Hey, Matty, I know you probably don’t want to leave your adorbs kids and John Lithgoe to starve to death on this choking planet, but—‘
‘I’ll do it.’
‘But they’re motherless and I’m sure there are literally thousands of people who can fly a plane and you’re not even an astronaut and—‘
*cut to MMcC, already in a space suit, ordering freeze-dried ice cream pouches off Ebay*
And within about 5 seconds he is in space with a crew representing important minorities: a woman (Anne Hathaway), a black man, and a hipster. Hipster dude has a beard so sharp you know that as soon as they touch down on the first planet he’ll be asking for the wi-fi code and sourcing organic coffee beans for his grinder. Anyway he quickly dies because he’s Instragramming something (probably) and it transpires that in space, one hour is the same as seven earth years. And no one thought to tell MMcC this and he is a bit upset because he took The Da Vinci Code out of the library for the journey and those fines are going to be REALLY astromonical geddit.
Anne and MMcC get back to the ship and the black dude is like ‘it’s been 23 years’ and they’re like ‘OMG’ and it would have been really funny if he’d said, ‘Not! It’s been like ten minutes. This is talcum powder on my beard. Your faces though ow ow stop hitting me.’
But he doesn’t.
There are two more planets to visit and MMcC through his homespun intuition discovers that Anne H wants to go to the furthest one because her boyfriend is there and ‘love is quantifiable’. He’s all like ‘No it’s not and dude probably just wants some downtime with his homies we’re not going’.
We never see so much as a picture of this dude to explain why she would literally follow him across the galaxy. Not so much as a brief cameo of Ryan Gosling in a space suit. I’m just saying. Would have helped with the dramatic motivation.
Instead we go to a planet with a suspiciously well-nourished Matt Damon. That life-fluid in those pods must be quite high in calories is all I’m saying. I bet Anne had to have diet fluid in hers because otherwise she’d be papped by the Intergalactic Mail and headlined Anne Flaunts Her Curves in Sexy Life-sustaining Space Suit: astronaut looked ‘healthy’. (Other headlines include ‘STAR COLLAPSES: ‘nervous exhaustion’ blamed, as well as the relentless impact of billions of years of gravity; NAKED SINGULARITY: Black hole suffers wardrobe malfunction and flaunts curves of horizon; etc)
Matt Damon has gone mad and kills the black dude and tries to dock with the spaceship in a frankly incompetent manner. You half-expect the spaceship to sigh and exclaim, ‘For God’s sake, Matt, I’m sick of you trying to dock with me when you’re drunk. We never talk anymore.’ Then it explodes. (Ghostly Michael Caine from Earth: ‘You were only supposed to blow the bloody space doors off’). Then MMcC docks with it reeeeeaaaal smooth because he’s a Southern man who knows how to please a laydeee spaceship, and afterwards it wants to cuddle but he’s fast asleep on his back and snoring. Typical.
Then there follows a long bit that can be summarised thus SCIENCE SCIENCE SCIENCE SCIENCEY SCIENCE and uses some sets left over from Inception.
Back on Earth, MMcC’s daughter is now Jessica Chastain and working with Michael C to find a cure for Total World Apocalypse Takedown (TWATs). It’s interesting to note that in the future NASA will still do everything via paper and pencils and blackboards. I mean, even in my school in the 90s we had interactive whiteboards. I’m just saying, maybe they’d do those Hard Sums a bit faster if someone would ease up the stationery budget. Marjorie, I’m talking to you. Office managers, amirite?
Then there’s a bit where that kid from the Seventies Show turns up in a sensible apocalypse-wicking raincoat and tells everyone their lungs are more full of dust than an at-capacity Dyson. It is never explained who he is or what his relationship is to Jessica C. They do kiss once. She probably friend-zoned him after that. He is the archetypal ‘Nice Guy of the End of All Humankind’.
Then somehow everything is sorted out because SCIENCE SCIENCE HARD SUMS and MMcC shows up on future colony and finally sees his daughter, who is now older than him. Which is a nice illustration of the careers of actors in Hollywood. What’s that, Einstein? There’s also a time dilation between the ages of male and female film stars? #notalleinsteins
Then we cut to Anne, who has got all the way to the last planet only to find her boyfriend has bitten it, as least I assume that’s what happened, or maybe she’s just upset because paps from IG Mail have done a story entitled ‘Who Wore It Best? Red faces as Anne turns up to undiscovered planet to find she’s wearing the SAME stunning white space suit as her dead boyfriend.’ And she does a sad ‘all alone in the universe’ face and looks like she might rock out another few verses of ‘I Dreamed a Dream’ or more likely ‘On My Own’ (at which, I admit, I did a small cry), but it’s OK because MMcC is coming to dooooock with her real smooth. Uh huh.
Verdict: a solid 7 out of 10. Some moving bits, some real tension, lots of confusing Sciencey Science.