While Crater means well, the newly released Disney sci-fi adventure film is lacking the movie magic as it makes its arrival on Disney+.
I wanted to like this film. An adventure on the moon? What’s not to like?!? With Shawn Levy producing the film, it can’t be all that bad now, can it? What bothers me about the movie is that it doesn’t feel like a Disney theatrical film nor does it even feel as magical as the Disney Channel Original Movies. I’m not even sure if it falls somewhere in between. I had more fun watching the Zenon movies back when they aired on the Disney Channel! For what it’s worth, those films are set on a space station during 2049-54. This film takes place two full centuries afterwards. Let me tell you right now that the state of humanity is not all that fun in the mid 2200s. The lunar colony miners are basically blue-collared indentured servants.
It’s 2257 and the moon is now a mining colony as people make their way from Earth to resettle on the distant Omega. This is where we meet Caleb Channing (Isaiah Russell-Bailey). Unfortunately, his father’s (Scott Mescudi) recent death means that Caleb is being sent to Omega in a few days. For what it is worth, this is because of Michael Channing wishes it in his will. Before he goes to Omega, Caleb goes on one final adventure with best friends Dylan (Billy Barratt), Borney (Orson Hong) and Marcus (Thomas Boyce), and a recent Earth arrival, Addison (Mckenna Grace). The main reason as to why Addison joins them is because she could get the codes from her father in order to steal a rover.
We don’t know what is in the crater but before Caleb was born, Michael and Grace Channing would visit for the views. Caleb’s father and his final wishes brings some mystery about the crater. What is in it? Unfortunately, the entire base is on lockdown because of a meteor storm. Let’s just say that anything that can go wrong will go wrong. There are twists and turns here that I definitely did not expect. It’s the twists that were the most disappointing in watching the film.
Kyle Patrick Alvarez’s direction and John Griffin’s screenplay owes quite a bit to Stand by Me. You know, teens escaping undetected for a life-changing adventure. Throw in the lunar setting and it should be a grand adventure, right? The script just feels like something is lacking. I mean, even during the film’s ending, it felt rather disappointing. It’s easy to see what sort of story they were aiming for but the state of humanity could be better. We see it throughout the film: the what-could-have-been. I’ll say this about the production design: it looks spectacular for recreating the lunar surface with cat litter, rocks, or foam. A higher budget would have likely recreated the moon with a mix of practicality and CGI.
There are things that one expects from a Disney film but Crater falls short of the studio’s standards.
DIRECTOR: Kyle Patrick Alvarez
SCREENWRITER: John Griffin
CAST: Isaiah Russell-Bailey, Mckenna Grace, Billy Barratt, Orson Hong, Thomas Boyce, and Scott Mescudi
Disney+ released Crater on May 12, 2023. Grade: 3/5
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