Peppered with laughter, tears and thrills, Kyle Patrick Alvarez’s ‘Crater’ is a heart-warming adventure story. The year is 2257 and after stripping the moon of its minerals and failing to colonise, the satellite has been turned into a mining colony with the dice loaded rather heavily against the miners.
When Caleb’s (Isaiah Russell-Bailey), father Michael, (Scott Mescudi) dies in a mining accident, he (Caleb) is eligible to move to another planet called Omega, where life is beautiful. The catch is travelling to Omega will take 75 years and though Caleb would be in cryo-sleep and would wake up the same age at the end of his journey, his friends would not.
With a lockdown on because of a meteor storm, Caleb has three days before taking the shuttle to Omega. He rounds up his friends, Dylan (Billy Barratt), Borney (Orson Hong) and Marcus (Thomas Boyce) to steal a rover to get to a crater Caleb’s father had told him about. The boys need the codes from the newly arrived ‘earth’ girl, Addison, (Mckenna Grace), whose father is a scientist in the colony.
Addison agrees to help the boys with the codes if they allow her to come along and they reluctantly agree. The famous five set off on an enchanted road trip. As Michael tells Caleb, the best thing about road trips is “you get to leave everything behind.” Through the trip to the crater, the five young people learn things about the earth and each other.
While the popularity of basketball is mystifying to the four lunar boys, even more perplexing is the bloody wars fought over religion and belief systems. Life on the moon is equally tough as the boys reveal—Marcus’ heart condition is probably a long-term effect of living on the moon, the 20-year rule to serve on the colony and the one that children have to finish their parents’ backlog before starting their 20 years is cruel. Dylan tells the others of the pressure almost driving his father away while Borney’s need for “catastrophising” is the result of his brother’s scary stories.
Even as the five have fun playing a scary game of launch with near-disastrous consequences, serious topics including sacrifice, friendship, exploitation, haves and have-nots, and death are touched upon. The lightness in dealing with critical issues is one of the strengths of this charming film. The gourmet meals in the model home complete with a fireplace, the iridescent blue of the sky and the wonder it provokes are deeply moving and equally exhilarating. All the young cast is captivating and that whopper of an ending with its bittersweet aftertaste ensures that Crater will be in your mind for a long time to come.
Crater is currently streaming on Disney+Hotstar