ANIARA Reviews

  • 5d ago

    Depressing, but that's really the point.

    Depressing, but that's really the point.

  • Jul 20, 2020

    This ambitious existential sci-fi offering, based on a Swedish poem of the same name, makes a valiant attempt at transcending the content, substance and style typically associated with other films of the genre. However, due to an underdeveloped script, an overreliance on viewer knowledge of the source material, more even pacing and a need for some judicious editing, the picture never quite rises to the greatness it might have been truly capable of. The film's impeccable production design and special effects and fine performances are augmented by nods to a variety of other sci-fi works, including "Solaris," "Gravity," "Passengers" and "Battlestar Gallactica," as well as allusions to "Midsommar" and various tales of hopelessly adrift seafarers. Its prolific references to matters religious, spiritual, metaphysical and sociopolitical pepper the story, sometimes effectively, sometimes not so much, resulting in a grab bag of enlightenment, frustration and assorted enigmas. In an age where our own world is seemingly being turned upside-down, the insights of this story -- had they been better developed -- could have been a godsend to a weary population, providing us all with a new, clearer understanding of where we're at and where we're headed. But, unfortunately, "Aniara" comes up short of achieving that goal -- and at a time when we could have used it most.

    This ambitious existential sci-fi offering, based on a Swedish poem of the same name, makes a valiant attempt at transcending the content, substance and style typically associated with other films of the genre. However, due to an underdeveloped script, an overreliance on viewer knowledge of the source material, more even pacing and a need for some judicious editing, the picture never quite rises to the greatness it might have been truly capable of. The film's impeccable production design and special effects and fine performances are augmented by nods to a variety of other sci-fi works, including "Solaris," "Gravity," "Passengers" and "Battlestar Gallactica," as well as allusions to "Midsommar" and various tales of hopelessly adrift seafarers. Its prolific references to matters religious, spiritual, metaphysical and sociopolitical pepper the story, sometimes effectively, sometimes not so much, resulting in a grab bag of enlightenment, frustration and assorted enigmas. In an age where our own world is seemingly being turned upside-down, the insights of this story -- had they been better developed -- could have been a godsend to a weary population, providing us all with a new, clearer understanding of where we're at and where we're headed. But, unfortunately, "Aniara" comes up short of achieving that goal -- and at a time when we could have used it most.

  • Jun 26, 2020

    First up. Most reviewers here miss that the film is an adaptation of an epic poem by Nobel Laureate H Martinson, written in 1956. It is a faithful adaptation of fifties writing that foresaw the impact of VR technology etc. So when people point at plot holes, it is of-its-kind, and in terms of action...it's a poem ok? A poem in space. It uses the setting to explore existentialism, why we carry on (or not), the nature of hope, the essentials of the human condition. How we find meaning in absurdity. As such, I loved it. The level of plot detail mirrors the original poem, you connect the dots yourself from the images and vignettes presented, much like when reading...a poem. Not for everyone, but few films tackle this sort of idea with any skill, and this is wonderfully done. If you prefer basic narrative hero-overcomes-obstacles-finds redemption movies, roll end credits before we know what happens next...this probably not your bag.

    First up. Most reviewers here miss that the film is an adaptation of an epic poem by Nobel Laureate H Martinson, written in 1956. It is a faithful adaptation of fifties writing that foresaw the impact of VR technology etc. So when people point at plot holes, it is of-its-kind, and in terms of action...it's a poem ok? A poem in space. It uses the setting to explore existentialism, why we carry on (or not), the nature of hope, the essentials of the human condition. How we find meaning in absurdity. As such, I loved it. The level of plot detail mirrors the original poem, you connect the dots yourself from the images and vignettes presented, much like when reading...a poem. Not for everyone, but few films tackle this sort of idea with any skill, and this is wonderfully done. If you prefer basic narrative hero-overcomes-obstacles-finds redemption movies, roll end credits before we know what happens next...this probably not your bag.

  • Jun 25, 2020

    A very nice sci-fi movie about getting lost in the great vacuum of space

    A very nice sci-fi movie about getting lost in the great vacuum of space

  • Jun 20, 2020

    So close to being good. So this ship is adrift for a couple years and the rescue rocket that's sent to them is SOOOOO advanced they can't even tell what it's made out of, let alone open it. What? It's only been a couple years and NO they're not going super fast so don't try any of that relativity stuff! So yeah, there are a couple dead ends in the plot that leave you scratching your head. It's as if the writers didn't HAVE an ending so they stymied everything the characters did to save themselves.

    So close to being good. So this ship is adrift for a couple years and the rescue rocket that's sent to them is SOOOOO advanced they can't even tell what it's made out of, let alone open it. What? It's only been a couple years and NO they're not going super fast so don't try any of that relativity stuff! So yeah, there are a couple dead ends in the plot that leave you scratching your head. It's as if the writers didn't HAVE an ending so they stymied everything the characters did to save themselves.

  • Jun 19, 2020

    A harrowingly meditative exploration of society's deterioration in the face of existential calamity, Aniara is thought-provoking, engaging, but definitely bleak, and probably not for everyone. This film was on my Hulu queue for some time, as I'm frequently hungry for quality science fiction fare. While this film is less strictly pure sci-fi, and is more accurately a psychological thought experiment, the spaceship-on-a-collision-course-with-oblivion setting combined with the exploration of how AI and virtual reality can influence the psyche, set against a "Lord of the Flies"-esque degradation of societal norms in the face of isolation and impending death. The main character, played by Swedish actor Emelie Garbers, is called the "Mimarobe," as she is the crew member charged with running and maintaining the little-explained "MIMA" AI program, akin to Star Trek's holodeck, that accesses users memories and provides an experience of being on Earth so the ship's passengers can maintain a tentative hold on their humanity and their connection to nature. I appreciated how the filmmakers didn't overtly explain the technology behind the device, or really anything about it. It was just to be accepted by the audience as part of the self-contained world. When the device goes haywire when it is needed most, things go badly for everyone involved. I really liked the Mimarobe. Garbers portrays her as capable, compassionate, and fun-loving, and perhaps the most "human" being on the doomed ship. I like how her sexual orientation was somewhat elastic, although she ultimately falls for a stoic female pilot, fueling much of the personal anguish and horror in the third act. While the film isn't an easy watch and is certainly psychologically disturbing, I appreciated how nothing was gratuitous in how the film depicted the occasional eruptions of sex, violence, and psychological torture. Odd putting it that way, but it deftly manages to the examine those issues without exploiting their inherent spectacle, like other films might have. Perhaps an American production would have amped up the sex, blood, and gore. In this way I am guessing that the film's "Swedishness" protected it from wallowing within the tropes of the film's psychological horror rather than reveling in it. In fact, that this film is Swedish also lends to the themes of isolation, alienation bleakness, and dread that it is attempting to explore. The fact that everything feels oddly foreign and detached from my biased, American viewing experience, is in my contention the direct result of the film's Swedish language and I assume, Scandinavian cultural norms, that no doubt are infused into the film's DNA. One of my complaints about the film is that there is much that was unexplored in this narrative. In other words, there are missed opportunities inherent in the film regarding the realities of running out of food and being forced to assume a mono-diet composed of nothing but algae, a deeper exploration of religion and cults that would undoubtedly crop up, and the examination into abuse of power and overreaching of authority that the film doesn't investigate far enough. On that last point, it seemed that a lot more could have been done to demonstrate the ship's captain losing touch with his passengers and crew and embodying a Col. Kurtz-like persona. As has been said elsewhere, this film is not uplifting in practically any way. Without providing spoilers, there is a scene towards the end that is just soul-crushing that is acted to perfection by the film's lead. That said, the final shot of the film is oddly optimistic in an entire unexpected way. Regarding the production design, I liked the stark Euro-aesthetic of the piece and really enjoyed the design of the ship itself. Clearly this film didn't have the benefit of a $100 million budget but in my estimation got the most out of its visual effects and minimalist design. As I stated earlier, this film isn't for everybody, but in my estimation the experience of viewing it is very much worth the time and it still haunts my consciousness as I write these words. Recommend.

    A harrowingly meditative exploration of society's deterioration in the face of existential calamity, Aniara is thought-provoking, engaging, but definitely bleak, and probably not for everyone. This film was on my Hulu queue for some time, as I'm frequently hungry for quality science fiction fare. While this film is less strictly pure sci-fi, and is more accurately a psychological thought experiment, the spaceship-on-a-collision-course-with-oblivion setting combined with the exploration of how AI and virtual reality can influence the psyche, set against a "Lord of the Flies"-esque degradation of societal norms in the face of isolation and impending death. The main character, played by Swedish actor Emelie Garbers, is called the "Mimarobe," as she is the crew member charged with running and maintaining the little-explained "MIMA" AI program, akin to Star Trek's holodeck, that accesses users memories and provides an experience of being on Earth so the ship's passengers can maintain a tentative hold on their humanity and their connection to nature. I appreciated how the filmmakers didn't overtly explain the technology behind the device, or really anything about it. It was just to be accepted by the audience as part of the self-contained world. When the device goes haywire when it is needed most, things go badly for everyone involved. I really liked the Mimarobe. Garbers portrays her as capable, compassionate, and fun-loving, and perhaps the most "human" being on the doomed ship. I like how her sexual orientation was somewhat elastic, although she ultimately falls for a stoic female pilot, fueling much of the personal anguish and horror in the third act. While the film isn't an easy watch and is certainly psychologically disturbing, I appreciated how nothing was gratuitous in how the film depicted the occasional eruptions of sex, violence, and psychological torture. Odd putting it that way, but it deftly manages to the examine those issues without exploiting their inherent spectacle, like other films might have. Perhaps an American production would have amped up the sex, blood, and gore. In this way I am guessing that the film's "Swedishness" protected it from wallowing within the tropes of the film's psychological horror rather than reveling in it. In fact, that this film is Swedish also lends to the themes of isolation, alienation bleakness, and dread that it is attempting to explore. The fact that everything feels oddly foreign and detached from my biased, American viewing experience, is in my contention the direct result of the film's Swedish language and I assume, Scandinavian cultural norms, that no doubt are infused into the film's DNA. One of my complaints about the film is that there is much that was unexplored in this narrative. In other words, there are missed opportunities inherent in the film regarding the realities of running out of food and being forced to assume a mono-diet composed of nothing but algae, a deeper exploration of religion and cults that would undoubtedly crop up, and the examination into abuse of power and overreaching of authority that the film doesn't investigate far enough. On that last point, it seemed that a lot more could have been done to demonstrate the ship's captain losing touch with his passengers and crew and embodying a Col. Kurtz-like persona. As has been said elsewhere, this film is not uplifting in practically any way. Without providing spoilers, there is a scene towards the end that is just soul-crushing that is acted to perfection by the film's lead. That said, the final shot of the film is oddly optimistic in an entire unexpected way. Regarding the production design, I liked the stark Euro-aesthetic of the piece and really enjoyed the design of the ship itself. Clearly this film didn't have the benefit of a $100 million budget but in my estimation got the most out of its visual effects and minimalist design. As I stated earlier, this film isn't for everybody, but in my estimation the experience of viewing it is very much worth the time and it still haunts my consciousness as I write these words. Recommend.

  • May 22, 2020

    There are two types of space movies, shoot em ups, and ones like Aniara. It is so depressing that I almost committed suicide with most of the star ships's crew. God awful in every way.

    There are two types of space movies, shoot em ups, and ones like Aniara. It is so depressing that I almost committed suicide with most of the star ships's crew. God awful in every way.

  • May 13, 2020

    Not sure what people who rave about this movie see in it. It is not the worst thing I've ever seen and most definitely not the best. It would be more accurately described as a psychological drama rather than science fiction. The setting happens to be on a space ship, but this is just a plot device and the science fiction is clearly a tertiary consideration, which accounts for all the glaring "technical" inconsistencies. These should be ignored in this case, because that is not the point of the movie, but they are distracting and take away from the feel of the movie. The set might as well be a sailing ship lost at sea or a magical realm cut off from reality by an evil wizard. Some reviewers rave about the cinematography, but while it is decent, it is nothing special. I am certainly not impressed that the set is basically a large low end shopping mall with attached hotel. I assume this is a choice made to add to the bleakness of the movie (after all there are few things more depressing) and it probably worked wonders for the budget. As a psychological drama it is rather weak unfortunately. There are one or two powerful moments, but for the most part the directors were just randomly checking off boxes on a list of the worst things humans might do in a given situation without any particular reason. As such it becomes quite predictable very quickly. More than anything else I left with a sense of disappointment, because there was a lot of potential in the concept which was just wasted.

    Not sure what people who rave about this movie see in it. It is not the worst thing I've ever seen and most definitely not the best. It would be more accurately described as a psychological drama rather than science fiction. The setting happens to be on a space ship, but this is just a plot device and the science fiction is clearly a tertiary consideration, which accounts for all the glaring "technical" inconsistencies. These should be ignored in this case, because that is not the point of the movie, but they are distracting and take away from the feel of the movie. The set might as well be a sailing ship lost at sea or a magical realm cut off from reality by an evil wizard. Some reviewers rave about the cinematography, but while it is decent, it is nothing special. I am certainly not impressed that the set is basically a large low end shopping mall with attached hotel. I assume this is a choice made to add to the bleakness of the movie (after all there are few things more depressing) and it probably worked wonders for the budget. As a psychological drama it is rather weak unfortunately. There are one or two powerful moments, but for the most part the directors were just randomly checking off boxes on a list of the worst things humans might do in a given situation without any particular reason. As such it becomes quite predictable very quickly. More than anything else I left with a sense of disappointment, because there was a lot of potential in the concept which was just wasted.

  • Apr 27, 2020

    Classic Euro, erotic space nihilism.

    Classic Euro, erotic space nihilism.

  • Apr 15, 2020

    So not all movies have a fairy tale ending. There is some heavy and tragic content. This is not for children. There is an unusual sense of realism in the the futility here. The character development is well done. I was inspired to ask what could have been done differently to change the outcomes. I like being inspired. Will humans live on Mars? Yes. Will humans live and die in space? Yes. Will a stray ship end up somewhere outside our solar system with the dust of long deceased passengers on board? Sadly, I expect so. Something could be learned from this, as humans soon take the next step of living off Earth.

    So not all movies have a fairy tale ending. There is some heavy and tragic content. This is not for children. There is an unusual sense of realism in the the futility here. The character development is well done. I was inspired to ask what could have been done differently to change the outcomes. I like being inspired. Will humans live on Mars? Yes. Will humans live and die in space? Yes. Will a stray ship end up somewhere outside our solar system with the dust of long deceased passengers on board? Sadly, I expect so. Something could be learned from this, as humans soon take the next step of living off Earth.