All Space Bark and No Space Bite


By: Isaac P. Ale
May 11, 2021

stowaway team Stowaway [2021]

Film

I certainly can't express how much potential this movie had in my eyes. A solid cast comprising of Toni Collette, Anna Kendrick, Daniel Dae Kim and Shamier Anderson shot in the confines of a spaceship headed towards Mars is right up my alley. Everything I'm going to touch on definitely doesn't diminish the chemistry of the cast, nor the job they all do, because this might be one of Kendrick's best dramatic performances or performances in general. Not to mention Toni Collette can never do any wrong, seriously.

The environment the cinematography wraps us in is also incredibly done and undeniably beautiful. This is one of those space films where the shots just show the visceral beauty of emptiness. Zoe's (Anna Kendrick) favorite deck in the ship opens to swirling distant Earth as the ship produces its artificial gravity which can not only induce some motion sickness to the viewer, but also shows the vast vaccuum of space as each time "home" gets further and further away.

However with all the good there is quite simply put, way too much bad. And I mean way too much. The film is a long almost 2 hours, and the pacing in it is almost bizarre. I understand the desire to build these relationships between the members of the crew, wherein the ethical dilemma at the end becomes that much harder, but when you spend 100 minutes building and 15 minutes conclusing, the final outcome feels rushed and painfully slow at the same time. Not to mention the entire movie I was fixated on how Michael (Shamier Anderson) even wound up on the ship in the first place, which is the fulcrum of every decision in the film. He's a launch support engineer that later says he thought he was strapped in and went unconscious and is now on his way to Mars...BUT Commander Barnett (Toni Collette) had to unscrew a plate on the ship's ceiling to even find his body? So how can a launch support engineer think he was "strapped in" and then find himself behind a screwed on piece of the ship's interior??

Some might think I'm being too nitpicky here when I just raved about other elements of the film but when you have a movie centered on, oh idk, a stowaway, it would make sense to have a plausible reason that person is in fact (wait for it) stowing away. It is almost as bad as if the crew went to eat some food and found Michael sitting there drinking some coffee and said he got there when he clenched too hard on the toilet and woke up in space.

The juxtaposition of thoughtlessness with Michael's arrival and the carefully laid out friendship of Zoe and David (Daniel Dae Kim) along with their dedication to their research is appalling and detracts so much from the goal of the movie. You're supposed to feel emotionally invested in these characters and be heartbroken when David sacrifices his years of research to save Michael's life or angered when he offers him the means to save everyone else.

The final sequence is as breathtaking as you'd imagine; with Zoe basically swimming in some northern lights display, all the aforementioned negative aspects of the movie come together to sap away the emotion. What could've been a beautifully poetic moment in a film about a crushing problem across some wonderful relationships was reduced to "oh that's a cool shot".

Froth

While I am certainly no Yachter, nor do I have a daughter, nor am I romantically involved with a Yachter's Daughter or even know any Yachter's Daughter for that matter, I did open up myself a can of the Yachter's Daughter Helles Lager from a brewery that knows how to make fun names for beer. Yachter's Daughter Helles Lager, that's just so fun to say out loud.

But in all actuality, the Helles Lager from San Juan Island Brewing Company is unfortunately nothing to write home about. While light and crisp the flavor is not indicative of anything extraordinary or even ordinary, it is just meh. Which some might say is ordinary but I would argue meh is one level under ordinary. I'm sure there will come a time where I might reevaluate this beverage and I'm sure that time will be on a scorching hot day hopefully on some yacht or something idk. It's also worth noting that this might be one of the correlation vs causation issues where I'm not sure if my negative viewing experience of Stowaway impacted my tasting experience or vice versa but both were underwhelming.

Come to think of it, if I were to stowaway on a yacht that had some Yachter's Daughter Helles Lager that might make for a great redemption story. And if anyone asks how I got there, well I guess I clenched too hard on the toilet and found myself at sea.

Yachter's Daughter Helles Lager
Lager - Helles | 5%
San Juan Island Brewing Company
@sanjuanbrew

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