Space Station 76 Review - The Indie Sci-Fi Revolution Continues
2014 has been a fantastic year for Indie movies in Science Fiction. Under the Skin, Snowpiercer and The Zero Theorem were all impressive entries, giving us relief from what was - before Guardians of the Galaxy - a lacklustre year for the genre. You can now add Jack Plotnick's comedy, Space Station 76, to that list of refreshing indie entries into 2014's collection of sci-fi movies.
Starring Liv Tyler, Matt Bomer and Patrick Wilson, Space Station 76 is beautiful homage to that 70's lo-fi sci-fi aesthetic we all know and love. The small and isolated space station serves as Plotnick's main tool for exploring the social issues that flooded American suburbia in the 60's and 70's. Marisa Coughlan does a fantastic job at portraying a bored housewife whose emotions have been stunted by one too many doses of valium, while Liv Tyler is the overwhelmed career girl looking to make a name for herself. Couple that with Patrick Wilson's alcoholic and broken hearted space station Captain, and you've got a comedy that provides some memorable laugh-out-loud moments and some of the most uncomfortably awkward scenes on you will ever see on the big screen.
That being said, Space Station 76 is not going to be for everyone. The pacing is sometimes painfully slow, and you often feel that Plotnick and co. were struggling to fill their 90 minutes. If you don't buy into the aesthetic or themes in the first 20 minutes, the chances are you'll be checking your watch for the remaining 70. However, if you're a fan of classic sci-fi and awkward comedy, Space Station 76 will likely be the most refreshing movie you've seen in a long time.
Most of the belly laughs from the movie occur in the office of robot therapist, Dr. Bot. The tiny toy robot serves as an outlet for the significant emotional baggage being carried by the under-stimulated inhabitants of Space Station 76, and the exchanges between them provide not only some of the funniest moments in the movie, but also some of the most memorable. Away from Dr. Bot, Wilson's performance as the alcoholic Captain Glenn stands head and shoulders above everything else. Wrestling a broken relationship and a string of failed suicide attempts, Captain Glenn surprisingly becomes the most likeable character in the whole movie. But that's not to say there's not a lot to like elsewhere. The entire cast nail their clichéd personas and special mention should go to Kylie Rogers who is fantastic as 7 year old Sunshine.
In conclusion, Space Station 76 may not be everybody's cup of tea, but for fans of this genre it really is essential viewing. Science Fiction is desperately starved of good comedic entries into the genre, and as Guardians of the Galaxy proved over the summer, audiences agree. Of course, Space Station 76 will not make $600 million, but when it is released on DVD and On Demand next week it should nonetheless be top of your viewing list.
Space Station 76 is released 'On Demand' on 23rd September and will be available on DVD on 30th September. However, if you want to witness it in its full glory, Plotnick's movie is screening in a select number of theaters in the Los Angeles and New York areas, starting Friday 20th September.