Starring: Alexa Davies and Antti Reini
Directed By: Alex Taylor
Synopsis: An look into comedy teacher Del Close and his influence on the art form of improvisational comedy.
Final Grade: D
Recommended For Those Who Like: Thirteen, Kids,
Hit the jump for the full review
Positives: First time writer and director Alex Taylor certain has style, and well-meaning intentions. To the first point, Taylor carefully chooses his color palette and brushes it purposefully onto every detail—hair, clothes, natural settings, unnatural lighting, and makeup. Visually, Spaceship is engaging and interesting in every frame. What happens in those frames is a little more suspect. This review will delve into this topic more shortly, it is notable that Taylor intends to make both a commentary and a critique of how a subsection of teenage deals with pain, loss, and the realization of their own identity. The setup—a young girl haunted by the loss of her mother going missing the resulting reactions of her father and circle of friends—is intriguing, and one supposes that if questioned, Taylor would be capable of explaining his vision perfectly.
Negatives: While Spaceship clearly has a vision, the fact that it is nearly incomprehensible represents a major issue. Taylor’s characters speak and act without sense or order. While imagery, tone, and even purposeful looks can propel a narrative forward, without cohesion, they can mar the experience to the point of frustration. In Spaceship, the story is seemingly straightforward, but doused in such cacophony, that themes, messages, and even plot advancements get lost in the noise.
Another issue that beleaguers Spaceship is the relatability of the characters. Alexa Davies does what she can with Lucidia, the missing girl, but her odd behavior looks normal compared to her “friends.” Most of her crew wax half-philosophies, musing about big ideas with incoherent logic and phrasing. It may have been the intention that Lucidia’s father Gabriel, played by Antti Reini, is meant to bridge the audience to the material (as he definitely the one most grounded in reality), but his passive nature and failure to act like a normal concerned father makes him difficult to connect with.
Finally, Spaceship wants to be deliberate, but instead is merely slow. Long ballads and dream-like sequences are more common than dialogue, and while occasionally these stretches lead to a moment of plot development, for the most part audiences will be waiting for something to happen with little to no payoff. Shrouding a film in mystery and metaphor is one thing, but the imagery is so dense that it becomes ultimately confusing. It is certainly possible that Taylor has meaning behind all of his decisions for what he reveals to the audience, but most viewers will likely be scratching their head trying to decipher the symbolism (if it even exists).
Overall: Spaceship is an exercise in creative expression by new director Alex Taylor. While he should be applauded for his creative and unusual style to tell a story, much his final product is too nonsensical to recommend to wide audiences.
Final Grade: D