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Why Do We Keep Making Space Boring?

Space is huge and far away and 99% a mystery to us. Its also a place that is more than likely going to kill us when we venture into it. The potential for catastrophic failures, complete disasters, and painful deaths is pretty damn high.

We've seen, countless times, in movies and in real life, that space can be terrifying. Children of the 80's, who doesn't remember the Challenger disaster? And look no further than Alien or Event Horizon if you want to see examples of how terribly wrong space exploration can go.

Recently there's been a whole slew of space movies that promise to be terrifying but are, in fact, just boring. Boring. How can space be boring? What the hell is wrong with these people?

Here are just a few of the offenders:

Europa Report

The gist: Spaceship lands on Jupiter's moon, off target but mostly unharmed. The crew proceeds to make a series of absolutely absurd, unbelievable, not-sciencey decisions and as a consequence, start dying off. In the process, they start to believe there is a mysterious life-form on the planet that only takes shape as "light". No one survives except the video footage which miraculously gets sent back to Earth.

In one of those terrible attempts to cross genres, they've mashed a found-footage movie into a space exploration horror movie. Great. I think they were hoping this use of found footage would add to the suspense but they failed. There is literally no suspense in this movie at all.

In this case, I think they did themselves a disservice by trying to make the "monster" be subtle and non-specific and completely alien. What they really did was create a threat that is completely unthreatening.

The pacing is slow, the scares are minimal, and the ending is unfulfilling at best.

Bore yourself here with the trailer:

Apollo 18

The gist: Spaceship lands on the moon. The crew proceeds to make a series of absolutely absurd, unbelievable, not-sciencey decisions and as a consequence, start dying off. In the process, they start to believe there is a mysterious life-form on the planet that "hides" in the form of rocks but can take any Earthly form it wants. No one survives except the video footage which miraculously gets sent back to Earth.

If that description sounds painfully similar to the previous movie, you will not be surprised when I tell you that this movie is also a painful mash-up of found footage and horror movie.

And if the terrible light monster of Europa Report was boring, the terrible rock creatures of Apollo 18 are equally as stupid and boring.

Again. Slow-pacing and absolutely no sense of dread leave this movie feeling flat and uninteresting.

If you're not asleep already, put yourself to sleep watching this trailer:

Last Days on Mars

The gist: Spaceship lands on Mars. The crew proceeds to make a series of absolutely absurd, unbelievable, not-sciencey decisions and discover a mysterious life-form on the planet that turns humans into maniacal zombies. No one survives and nothing makes it back to earth.

This is the second time in the past two months that I've been tricked in to watching a god damn zombie movie. Fucking zombies in space. That's as retarded as Leprechaun in Space

I also take issue with the title of the movie: "Last Days on Mars" implies to me that we're looking at a timeline that spans at least 2 days but, at the start of the movie they let you know that you'll be watching the last 19 hours of this crew's time on Mars. 

I'm no math genius but 19 hours does not equal "days" or even one day. Perhaps they should have gone with, "Last Hours on Mars".

This movie doesn't attempt to be a found footage pseudo documentary, but it does try to be the freaky offspring of Alien & The Thing. There's a strong female lead that the rest of the crew hates because of her insistence on adhering to RULES that are intended to save lives while in space. 

Because there is an infectious agent / life form, people become paranoid and distrusting of one another as they realize that NOT EVERYONE IN THEIR MIDST IS HUMAN. 

The dialog makes things seem frantic but the filming and the delivery doesn't reflect that at all. It's a bunch of people saying really emotional, dramatic things in really deadpan, emotionless ways.

Still awake? There's time for one more trailer:

Consider this post my request to the movie industry to stop making space boring! Neil deGrasse Tyson would agree!


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