Saban Films

“It was so nice when we got here. We were happy. Richard was showering.”

  • Halfway through a 10-year mission, a group of astronauts become unstable, overcome by the isolation of deep space. While they prepare to return home, Earth is hit by a catastrophic event. the haunting emptiness of space becomes the least of their concerns as they fight to survive against unforeseen threats.

I seem to be inadvertently going through watching a bunch of actual good science fiction movies as of late. I assure you, this was not intentional; as a matter of fact, I came across this particular movie–3022–as a recently released rental title on the Family Video website. I never heard of this ever being shown in theaters, and preliminary reports stating that this was a low-budget sci-fi movie, one that stars the likes of Omar Epps and a former Nickelodeon child star. Mind you, I understand that a low budget does not a cheesy bad sci-fi movie make. But, I thought I’d check it out, going by the video blurb alone, and see what it’s all about.

So, it’s the year 2190, and humans have now colonized an off-world settlement on the Jupiter moon of Europa. Anyone who has read 2010: Odyssey Two knows that this might be a bad idea, but whatev’s. Serving as kind of a way-station between Earth and Europa is the space station Pangea, named after the super-continent that existed during the late Paleozoic and early Mesozoic eras (man, this is already knee-deep in the nerd references). We come in with the arrival of four astronauts onto the station–Captain John Laine (Omar Epps!), medical doctor Richard Valin (Angus Macfadyen!), a former Nickelodeon child star (Miranda Cosgrove!) and Jackie Miller (Kate Walsh!)–as they embark on a 10-year mission to explore strange, new worlds wander about inside the station and smoke a lot. I’m not kidding–all of ’em seem to smoke like chimneys on a freaking space station. You know, a place where there’s several pressurized gasses utilized that could combust easily? I can not begin to imagine how nasty that living situation was, I don’t care how advanced the air filtration system is. And this is coming from a former chain smoker of several years who still dreams of pulling on that sweet, sweet Carolina smoke. *ahem* Anyway, after a montage of them interacting for five years, the Captain fails his psych evaluation, meaning that, since he is unfit for duty, they are all considered unfit, so now they all have to ship back to Earth and be replaced half-way through their mission. This makes the others understandably grumpy. Fortunately, though, they receive a respite that allows them all to remain on the station indefinitely! Unfortunately, that’s because Earth just happened to blow up shortly after the psych evaluation, the resulting shock wave doing damage to the station itself, and everyone mistaking the charred husk of our former home as a comet at first. Nickelodeon Lady dies from a cerebral hemorrhage due to being knocked around by the wave blast, then the doctor goes completely insane and blasts himself out of the air lock (he was wearing a space suit, so at least he had some time to enjoy the view of nothing-ness). Captain John and Jackie aren’t doing much better themselves, but then they get a visit from a derelict shuttle coming from Europa, with three surviving French astronauts joining the remaining two. And then things really get crazy. The Frenchies are friendly at first, but then loose their collective baguettes after learning that there’s only enough resources to keep everyone alive for a couple of days and manage to kill themselves, and then the space station blows in half, with the Captain on one half and Jackie on the other, with the Captain vowing to go get her, but the shuttle it broken, and it seems to take him 3022 entries in the journal (we have ourselves a title!) before he’s able to end the movie with more questions than answers.

For what it is, 3022 is a pretty decent science fiction movie. It definitely falls within the whole Isolated Astronaut Faces Existential Crisis and Possible Madness line, something that’s really highlighted by the claustrophobic setting and stark cinema style of the film making. All the actors were great in their roles, really nailing the melancholic loneliness that comes with being isolated in space for five years, with five more years of the same to look forward to.

One of the major complaints I have read about the film was not showing everything that was going on, like what that big flash was and what actually happened to the Earth. Personally, I think that actually works in the movie’s favor, showing only the reaction of the crew to whatever it was that happened outside in their field of vision. The brain can fill in the blanks, and for me it was truly more horrific than what they eventually did show with the Earth blowing up…and this is one of my complaints about the movie. The CGI is not good. Not complete garbage, but PlayStation 3 cut scene level, especially with the fire effects. Also, and I can’t harp on this enough, but WHY WAS EVERYONE SMOKING?!? Two hundred years in the future, and nobody vapes anymore? I’m not a proponent of vaping, but I’m sure that’s better than having an open flame in something that uses compressed oxygen and various other gasses. It really took me out of the movie.

Overall, though, I found 3022 to be not too bad. I like the ambiguity and the questions it leaves unanswered (Was the station a refuel station? A message relay station? If it was between Earth and Jupiter’s moons, was this placed somewhere near Mars, or the asteroid belt? What blew up the Earth? Did they spend years apart? WHY WERE THEY ALL SMOKING?). Mind you, the best way to watch it is late at night, with the lights out and possibly sleep deprivation. Recommended.