Combustible Celluloid
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With: Kodi Smit-McPhee, Ryan Kwanten, Deborah Mailman, Sana'a Shaik, Aaron Glenane, Damian Walshe-Howling, Leeanna Walsman, Matt Testro, Finn Little
Written by: Seth Larney, Dave Paterson
Directed by: Seth Larney
MPAA Rating: NR
Running Time: 115
Date: 10/02/2020

2067 (2020)

1 1/2 Stars (out of 4)

Future Shlock

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

The sci-fi tale 2067 intrigues for a while with its mystery story and its striking visuals, but a long, dull setup and an unsatisfying conclusion reveal a tendency for sermonizing over character or story.

It's the future, and the climate crisis has intensified. Oxygen-producing greenery has become all but extinct. Humans are forced to survive on synthetic oxygen, whose side effects are slowly killing the population. Ethan Whyte (Kodi Smit-McPhee) works in the tunnels alongside his protective older "brother" Jude (Ryan Kwanten), re-routing electrical signals to keep things going. Ethan is bitter about his late father, a prominent scientist, and worried about his wife (Sana'a Shaik), who has the sickness.

One day he is called up to meet the high-ranking Jackson (Deborah Mailman). She shows him a time machine his father had been working on before his death, and informs him that they have received a message from 400 years in the future: "Send Ethan Whyte." Ethan must choose to go on a mission into the distant unknown, from which he may never return, but which could save the human race.

2067 takes a full half-hour to get Ethan into the future, and that time isn't particularly well-spent. It's mostly hand-wringing and descriptions of how miserable life is; it's all expository, rather than organic. When Ethan arrives in the future, he finds his own skeleton, complete with a nametag. It's a fascinating puzzle. How long has the skeleton been there? Have there been several trips back and forth through time? How many layers does this mystery have?

The answer is actually pretty dumb (the skeleton would have completely crumbled long before Ethan finds it) and the longer Ethan spends in the future, the more apparent it becomes that there are no hidden layers, and not much to find. A thick, ponderous music score drones throughout, and 2067 then wraps up with more explanation of the plot behind the plot, which basically comes to "humans are dumb and evil and have messed up the world."

Ethan's final grand gesture is equally puzzling, and it leaves off with an uncomfortable conundrum: is he a hero, or is he a petulant kid who throws too many tantrums? The movie's design is the clear winner here, with the run-down, 400-year-old lab surrounded by lush green trees offering some memorable visuals, although a crucial FX shot looks rather fake.

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