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Review: Disney+ Original Movie ‘Crater’

“Crater,” tells the tale of Caleb Channing, portrayed by Russell-Bailey, who grew up in a lunar mining settlement. Following his father’s (Mescudi) demise, he is on the verge of a permanent transfer to a picturesque, distant planet. Yet, before this transition, he resolves to honor his father’s final wish. Together with his three closest friends, Dylan (Barratt), Borney (Hong), and Marcus (Boyce), and a recent newcomer from Earth, Addison (Grace), they commandeer a rover. This initiates their concluding lunar escapade, taking them on a quest to discover a cryptic crater.

Disney’s Crater initially appears promising, offering an appealing blend of science fiction and coming-of-age adventure reminiscent of 1980s classics such as Stand By Me and The Goonies.

The film is tailored to spark nostalgia in adults who recall those times fondly, while also providing today’s young audiences a glimpse into a future that echoes the past.

The film’s production team, with their impressive track record of significant hits, including Free Guy and Stranger Things, would seemingly ensure that Crater delivers a similar blend of heartfelt moments, wit, and thrilling suspense.

The reality for “Crater” isn’t that. The film features a commendable lineup of young actors who pour their heart into their performances. Unfortunately, certain choices regarding the visual effects and narrative structure fall short, resulting in a disappointing outcome for Crater.

Regrettably, the humor in the movie often misses its mark, mainly due to the excessive reliance on the disputes among the characters, each identified by a distinct peculiarity. The absence of real peril along the friends’ journey means that most obstacles stem from adolescent recklessness. This aspect significantly undermines the tension in Crater’s most exciting sequences.

Crater’s major drawback lies in its erratic pacing. Despite the engaging performances by the cast that keep viewers engaged, the film frequently loses momentum due to prolonged expositions, mainly introduced through flashbacks. These periods of exposition interrupt the action and decelerate the story’s pace, which is especially problematic for a film aimed at a family or young audience where maintaining a brisk, engaging rhythm is crucial.

Crater delivers a rather intense narrative on grief, which remains a constant throughout the movie. Its exploration of such profound themes could be too cynical for some preteen audiences.

While the visual effects maintain an acceptable standard—never fully immersing us in a genuinely futuristic environment, somewhat resembling a digitally composed backdrop. Nevertheless, as a low-budget streaming movie, “Crater” has some good aspects that make for a decent family-friendly adventure film.

“Crater” is streaming now on Disney+.

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