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Approaching the Unknown (2016)

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An American astronaut prepares for a mission to Mars.
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Cast overview, first billed only:
William D. Stanaforth
Louis 'Skinny' Skinner (CapCom)
Emily Maddox
Steven Brower ...
Featured in Civilian Astronaut Footage
Stephanie Gould ...
Featured in Civilian Astronaut Footage
Franziska Lamprecht ...
Featured in Civilian Astronaut Footage
Amanda Larson ...
Featured in Civilian Astronaut Footage
Featured in Civilian Astronaut Footage (as Whitney Lee)
St. John McKay ...
Featured in Civilian Astronaut Footage
James O'Connell ...
Featured in Civilian Astronaut Footage
Michael O'Connell ...
Featured in Civilian Astronaut Footage
Clare O'Connell ...
Featured in Civilian Astronaut Footage
Neel Patel ...
Featured in Civilian Astronaut Footage


Captain William Stanaforth is on a one-way solo mission to take the first steps in colonizing Mars. Like all pioneers throughout history, Stanaforth will face insurmountable odds and life and death decisions as he rockets bravely through space.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Drama | Sci-Fi | Thriller

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

3 June 2016 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Aproximando-se do Desconhecido  »

Filming Locations:

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs



Aspect Ratio:

1.78 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Double debut for Mark Elijah Rosenberg on Writing and directing See more »


In the Launch Pad scenes the rocket has external tanks side by side (8+ tanks no space between). In the space scenes after takeoff, there are only 4 (?) external tanks widely spaced. See more »

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User Reviews

A Poor Effort from a Cast and Crew Who Didn't Seem to Care
14 July 2016 | by (Birmingham, England) – See all my reviews

This looked like a great idea for a film. A sort of proto The Martian. However, nothing could be further from the truth. You know it is a "wrong un" when mission control just looks like someone's office.

The idea for the plot is an excellent one. One man, alone, struggles for his sanity whilst going on a one-way trip to colonise Mars.

However, execution is where it all falls down. For example, in spite of all the psychological testing any space agency would undertake to make sure someone is suitable astronaut material, they seem to have let a man with severe psychological problems and a history of dangerous behaviour captain a spaceship. Worse than that they hand over total control to someone who is prone to fits of anger and who starts smashing up equipment up when things don't go his way.

In an attempt to show this to be a psychological drama, we are treated to flashbacks of when he nearly manages to kill himself on Earth, through his own entirely reckless activities. Back on board, the audience is inflicted with scenes of implausible scientific activities. An example of just how poorly the science part of this film was interpreted comes when we see the director's idea of a pinnacle of demonstrated scientific insight. This is when he manages to daisy chain a couple of cables together to connect up his entirely unrealistic "water from nothing" machine. He also spends a lot of time giving the machine a little clean in an attempt to make it function.

Did I mention that our protagonist also routinely lies to those above him in the command chain and refuses to take orders? Not in a lovable renegade kind of way, just in a wholly inappropriate, unprofessional and unrealistic way. Although this is a sci-fi film, it seems that no one on the team has any idea of what science fiction is.

There is only one main set, the inside of the spacecraft. It is very poorly and cheaply put together with an unconvincing, discount store rowing machine being one of the main parts of the set. The space suit is even worse, with the costume designer making no attempt to make the helmet even look like it has airtight seal.

I sense no love for the genre in this film. I really wanted to enjoy it as I love sci-fi, and am happy to be forgiving of low-budget efforts. The trouble is, no one seemed to make any effort whatsoever with this film. It was truly dreadful.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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Instant communication was so dumb... romaarn
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I don't think this fool ever left the desert meanyso
Another space film alexgill-92871
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The trailer... micke_a
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