2036 Origin Unknown

Sometimes, of course, you know. You can tell just from looking at the (typically scant) promotional material. The paucity of IMDB information. The lack of Rotten Tomatoes ratings. The material that’s available looking suspiciously amateurish. You know you’re not going to a good movie. So you can’t really complain.

Felt like forever.

Gird your loins: This is where you’re spending the rest of your—what?! It’s only 90 minutes?

But, look, the Flower had a date by the beach, and there weren’t a lot of interesting options. The second feature was the more interesting (and ultimately excellent) documentary Saving Brinton. But this was about it as a lead-in.

I think it’s best to look at 2036 as if Ed Wood had directed 2001: A Space Odyssey. If you go in with that attitude, you’ll probably enjoy yourself.

No, you cannot.

And with effects like these, can you PROVE we didn’t fake the Mars landing?

Or if you’re just a Katee Sackhoff fan, I guess, as she pretty much carries the film, such as it is.

The premise is that, her father being killed on a Mars expedition, Katee runs a…a…hell, I’m not sure, but I think it’s an unmanned drone Mars expeditionary service. She decides when drones are going to be sent to Mars or not, or something. And when the movie starts she’s being made subordinate to an AI (voiced by Steven Cree). This decision has been made by her sister (Julie Cox), who is a Senator or something.

Dad was killed shortly after discovering a mysterious monol—er, cube, on Mars which is a mysterious and impenetrable CGI construct, and the source of Katee’s investigations. These investigations are complicated by the increasing (sorta) awareness of the AI—and there’s some sort of counter-effort going on at the same time which ultimately results in the movie’s only set (the room Katee sits in the whole time) being threatened by…some guys…and then breached by…another guy, whom she knows.

Definitely not that.

Pictured: Not a monolith.

It lacks a certain heft to pull off its schtick. Well, heft and clarity. Katee seems to be the sole operator of this business, and possessive enough to resent the intrusion of an AI—resentment that doesn’t seem really justified—and at the same time, well, she doesn’t seem to be very bright. She’s easily duped, placing herself in a very vulnerable condition for no apparent reason.

Even so, this gets worse, and I can’t tell you without “spoiling” the movie.

You don’t care.

I mean, trust me, the movie was spoiled before I got here.

I mean, wow. What a look.

Stop reading here if you don’t want to be SPOILED!

The upshot of Katee’s activities are to heroically kill every living human being other than herself. I kid you not. The climax of the film involves her struggling valiantly to make sure every man, woman and child dies. And when they do die, this is presented as a happy ending, because people are just so rotten.

Only Katee survives, and she goes off in her magic cube to…hang out at some remote corner of the galaxy with some other folks in cubes whom we never see but I guess we can presume they genocided their own people as well. This is actually less explicable than Kubrick’s ending.

No sets, few actors, cheesy CGI, okay music (though there wasn’t that much of it) and fourteen producers. Oh and “references” to 2001 which really didn’t make sense, like the AI lip-reading even though the people were well within earshot. Just kind of weird “throw in this shot from 2001” moments.

Hard to sit through, hard to recommend, unless you have a serious thing for Ms. Sackhoff. (And who am I to judge such things, ya freak?)

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