Neon’s niche in producing and releasing unbelievable, unique documentaries dominates once again with “Spaceship Earth.” The incredible, innovative and inspiring story sizzles onscreen proving Neon is becoming spectacularly synonymous with genuine, great films.
In 1991, science fiction and counterculture combined to create an unbelievable concept, Biosphere 2, an artificial and self-contained, closed ecosystem in the Arizona desert. For two years, eight eco-activists known as Biospherians locked themselves in a self-sustaining plastic bubble with one of the most unique, eccentric experiments of recent memory. Their silly Star Trek-like uniforms inspired imagery of science fiction, but was their research more science than fiction? “Spaceship Earth” explores one of the most surprising and successful science stories of the last 50 years.
Director Matt Wolf beautifully builds upon this cool concept and excellently executes expert storytelling through his use of fantastic footage. The treasure trove of 16mm, amazing analog tapes, contemporary interviews and thousands of vintage imagery ignite the sublime story and history of Biosphere 2. “Spaceship Earth” creates a captivating case study and showcases a larger than life idea being realized by some “daydreamers.” In almost a Sci-fi meets an Age of Aquarius atmosphere, but without the cult undertones, Biosphere 2’s breathtaking background has almost completely been dismissed and forgotten. Well, except for inspiring a cult classic comedy starring Pauly Shore (“Bio-Dome”), but don’t worry this delightful documentary has very little in common beyond the biosphere concept.
The cool, creative collective in itself is fascinating, but the remarkable assortment of archival footage fuels the interest and intrigue into learning more about Biosphere 2. In the beginning, the film fumbles trying to find its footing before maintaining a wonderful stimulating stride discussing the possibilities for our society. Initially the culture commune conveys creepy hippie vibes, but when you focus on the idea of colonizing other planets and self-sustainability it immediately pulls you in with how this staggering project actually came into fruition. The participants aren’t pandering and lecturing, but providing entertaining experiences with what led them to thought-provoking discoveries. Their search for scientific truth transcends the screen and immediately makes you a believer.
“Spaceship Earth” is a terrifically, transformative stranger-than-fiction film focusing on the adventures of eight extraordinary eco-activists. The carefully selected scientists experimenting in an enclosed environment certainly captured the world’s imagination, yet why did we forget? Their forgotten history has been brought back to life by Matt Wolf’s inspiring, insightful documentary.
Overall “Spaceship Earth” is an epic, entertaining story and a must watch. Owen Pallett’s mesmerizing music makes “Spaceship Earth” maintain an enriching, exciting environment and feels reminiscent of Jeff Beal’s work in “The Biggest Little Farm. Matt Wolf’s wonderful and amazing achievement is easily a Top 10 Documentary of the Year!
“Spaceship Earth” will be available on Hulu, VOD, Virtual Cinemas and participating Drive-Ins starting May 8th, 2020
3 ½ out of 4 stars
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