Aniara (2018) Poster

(2018)

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6/10
Very Difficult Movie to Grade.
jburtonprod-802-75902923 September 2019
On one level this movie is a success. It's an engaging, non-commercial Sci-fi film that is well acted, directed and produced. It held my attention and made me want to find out the fate of the ship and crew.

I knew nothing of the poem. I knew nothing other than what the trailer contained. It is incredibly difficult to adapt a poem which is tied more than any other literary form to the word, into a mostly visual medium. Since the screenwriter seemed to jettison the words of the poem what we are left with is an outline. That's where some problems begin. The poem was written in 1956, when space travel hadn't even started. So, it's pretty lame when a space ship the size of the Aniara doesn't have redundant power and a number of backup plans for when/if things go wrong. But hey, we're already in outer space, disbelief is suspended, so, shut the hell up. There's a bunch character driven scenes but none of character ever develop. The really all stay the same no matter what they've been through. Also Instead of a fully developed story we get inundated with a series of let downs which really come off as more of a drag than tragic. I mean would it really be that bad to be traveling through space? The filmmakers certainly seem sure it is. There's some poignant moments throughout, to be sure. The problem is it's all for a movie that just peters out. What may have had great resonance on the page doesn't make it through the translation to screen.

I think if they had stronger conclusion to what happens to the main character at the end the movie would've worked better. That way the ultimate ending would've become a post script. That didn't happen, so we're left with a movie that just stops on some sort of note about 'the vastness of space'.

All this makes 'Aniara' unsatisfying even though it's well done on many levels.
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8/10
The poem is a masterpiece of esoteric science-fiction literature; and this is an unexpectedly impressive adaptation with a chilling dénouement
Bertaut19 September 2019
The transitory nature of human existence, especially when set against the infinity of space and time, has been the inspiration for countless science-fiction narratives. A theme which has only become more relevant as the years go by and we find ourselves in the midst of an increasingly certain man-made extinction event, a fine example is Harry Martinson's poem, Aniara: en revy om människan i tid och rum [trans. Aniara: fragments of time and space] (1956), which is about the crippling contemplation of meaninglessness that consumes the passengers of a vast spaceship (the eponymous Aniara) set adrift in the void of space. An adaptation of the poem, this exceptionally well made film is the debut feature from writers/directors Pella Kagerman and Hugo Lilja, and is in the tradition of such esoteric texts as 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968), Solyaris (1972), Sunshine (2007), and High Life (2018). And yes, the characters are a little underdeveloped, with only a couple getting much of an arc, and yes, the science isn't exactly kosher, but irrespective of that, this is a provocative, morally complex, and existentially challenging film that I thoroughly enjoyed.

Set at an unspecified point in the future, Earth has reached a point of irreversible decay, and humanity is making a new home on Mars. The Aniara is a massive vessel that takes passengers on the three-week trip from a lunar docking station to the red planet. As the film begins, we meet the unnamed protagonist (Emelie Garbers). An employee on the Aniara, she is in charge of MIMA, (hence her job as a Mimarobe, or MR for short), a semi-sentient holodeck-like technology, that can scan people's thoughts, and allow them to experience whatever is best suited for their psyche (for example, we see MR exploring a vibrant forest). A week into the voyage, however, Captain Chefone (Arvin Kananian) is forced to jettison the vessel's nuclear core to avoid catastrophy after a minor collision with space debris. However, the ship is now off-course, and without the core, the crew have no way of turning her around, leaving them drifting into the darkness of space. And so, as months turn into years, with no hope of rescue, and as people find themselves unable to face reality, MIMA becomes essential for their mental well-being. However, MIMA wasn't designed to be exposed to so many negative emotions for such a prolonged time, and soon she starts to show signs of failing.

As mentioned, Aniara was written in 1956 by Swedish Nobel laureate Harry Martinson (the title is derived from the Ancient Greek word meaning "despairing"). The poem is more allegorical than the film, and was written, at least in part, as a reaction to the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the developing Cold War, Walter Baade's doubling of the estimated distance from the Milky Way to Andromeda in 1953, and Soviet suppression of the 1956 Hungarian revolution. The film is divided into nine chapters, which mark the passage of time. So, for example, the first three chapters are "Hour 1: Routine Voyage", "Week 3: Without a Map" and "Year 3: The Yurg". The titles of some of the later chapters contain pseudo-spoilers, so I won't mention them here, but when the title of the last chapter appeared on screen, I was so sure I'd misread it that I had to ask my friend for confirmation. Turned out I'd read it just fine; this last title contains all the existential dread and mind-bending contemplation of infinity that you could ever want. And it's an absolutely haunting way to end the film.

Much as is the case with the poem, the film looks at issues such as the possibility that we have already irreparably damaged the planet, the impermanence of human existence, and the sense of meaninglessness that can result when mankind is faced with the eternity of time and space. In relation to this, the film spends a good deal of time on the idea that human civilisation is essentially a construct that we use to shield us from the bleak reality that we are utterly insignificant, and when that construct is removed, we revert to barbarism. So, basically your typical multiplex stuff. The passengers on the Aniara become increasingly unable to stave off the encroaching malaise born from the hopelessness of their situation and the meaninglessness of their existence, and one of the most important lines in the film is when MR is told "everything we do is peripheral". Uplifting stuff.

One of the film's most interesting themes concerns MIMA, which is depicted as half-mind control, half-narcotic. As she becomes more important post-collision, it doesn't take long for people to become dependent on her, with large queues forming, and people at the back trying to bribe MR to get in early. Then, when MR hires another employee, she explains that she'll need to "teach them to resist the images", recalling the way people who work in pharmaceutical factories are randomly drug-tested. That's the narcotic element. At the same time, when a passenger proves unable to handle reality and becomes violent, he is forced to experience MIMA against his will and is rendered unconscious. That's the mind-control element. However, MIMA is also semi-sentient, and she soon proves reluctant to continue processing the never-ending onrush of negative emotions, with the passengers' sense of pointlessness and despair becoming overwhelming, to the point that she tells MR, in a surprisingly moving scene, "I want peace". HAL 9000 she is not; he'd have been able to suck it up.

Another theme, of course, is mankind's destruction of Earth. Whereas once, science fiction narratives focused on nuclear warfare as humanity's probable extinction event, in recent times, global warming and ecological disaster have become far more pervasive. Indeed, Martinson himself was something of a pioneer in this field, positing that we were destroying the planet long before climate change had entered the zeitgeist. In relation to this, the possibility that we may colonise other worlds is now seen not as something to facilitate exploration, but to facilitate survival. Of course, this is rendered all the more terrifying because it's not something only found in the realm of fiction - the planet is dying. But when you have a US president who ignores the scientific evidence of his own people, routinely rolls back environmental protections, and continually confuses weather and climate, the possibility of our changing course seems remote, just like the Aniara. This theme is never examined explicitly - we never learn the year in which the film is set, whether or not Earth has already died and is entirely uninhabitable or is simply on the way, nor what exactly it was that sent us into the cosmos - but it's touched on obliquely throughout and is a good example of how the film subtly engages with themes without necessarily foregrounding them.

Moving away from thematic concerns, the film's aesthetic is absolutely gorgeous. Made with a relatively small budget, the CGI is basic but highly effective. For the Aniara interiors, rather than building elaborate original sets, much of the film was shot in shopping malls and on ferries, which makes sense, as the Aniara is essentially a giant shopping mall/hotel, not unlike a luxury cruise ship. For the sets that were built from scratch, they are matched seamlessly to the location work, with the sleek minimalist post-modern (one might even say Ikea-like) style of Linnéa Pettersson and Maja-Stina Åsberg's production design working well to suggest rigid functionality.

In terms of problems, perhaps the most significant is the lack of character arcs (although this is also true of the poem). This is felt most in the lack of disparate viewpoints on the Aniara where it would have been interesting to meet characters with distinct beliefs, backgrounds, and denominations (although, having said that, the poem has no such characters). Does this leave the viewer with little with which to engage and no characters with whom to empathise? Yes, to a certain extent it does, but this is by design; the film isn't asking us to fall in love with a cast of well-rounded characters, it's asking us to engage with it at an esoteric level.

I will concede, however, that the science has some issues. Why, for example, would a ship the size of the Aniara be used as a short-distance transport vessel? It's mentioned several times that she wasn't built for long-term habitation, but if so, why are there so many amenities on board, why is the life-support system self-regulating, why are the algae farms designed to produce food indefinitely? And the practical nature of her size (4,750 meters long and 891 meters wide) throws up its own problems. Mars is (on average) 140 million miles from Earth, so for the Aniara to complete the journey in three weeks, she would need to travel at an average velocity of 277,777 miles per hour. Newton's second law of motion states that "force equals mass times acceleration"; in short, the greater the mass and the greater the speed, the more force it takes to slow down, and the power needed to slow something this big moving at such a speed is virtually unfathomable.

Nevertheless, the surrounding film is so accomplished, I can easily forgive the scientific inconsistencies. As aesthetically impressive as it is morally complex, as esoterically fascinating as it is unrelentingly despairing, this is a hugely impressive debut film. Equal parts haunting and provocative, the picture it paints of a humanity faced with its own extinction isn't a pretty one, but it is an urgent one, as we hurtle towards our own extinction, rapidly approaching the point where, like the Aniara, we will no longer have the capacity to turn around. And when we reach that point, our collective future will consist of nothing but the indifferent darkness and deafening silence of the infinite.
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8/10
Spaceship Accelerating to Mars; Human Nature takes Control
Raven-196922 September 2018
"There is protection against almost everything, against fire and damage through storm and cold, but there is no protection against humanity," said Nobel Prize winner Harry Martinson, upon whose poem this film is based. On a spaceship accelerating to Mars from the ruined earth, people shop, eat and - with the help of virtual reality - dream as they always have done. When the ship veers off course, crew leaders try to keep the passengers from learning the truth. Power struggles ensue, fantasies and fears displace reality, and the ship starts to resemble (gasp!) a mini city on earth. Caught in the middle of the chaos and the factions is a cheerful woman who tries to make the best of the unfortunate circumstances. If only her companions would let her.

Poignant and relevant to contemporary culture, directors Kagerman and Lilja adapt the poem remarkably well to the screen. The film is wonderful for what it says about human nature. The salient moral is that technology is not fail safe, and only as good as the powers who wield it. The film is hampered by a skimpy budget, shaky camera work and bad transitions, but overall the acting is believable, and it is a fascinating glimpse at the human talent for avoiding reality, for better or worse, in whatever sphere we happen to occupy. World premiere seen at the 2018 Toronto International Film Festival.
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5/10
So disappointed
rw-1560428 January 2019
I had... great expectations. The poem made a profound impression on me as a young boy when I read it the first time at around 12 or 13 years of age. The vision of the ship with its hapless passengers drifting endlessly across the infinite void, unable to change their ultimate destiny, descending into inevitable darkness struck a chord that still reverberates within me decades later.

Unfortunately the directors lost the ball. Instead of a much anticipated visual retelling of the epic poem we get bad acting and strange decisions on the cutting board. It seems to me the problem with the actors is that they seem to have been recruited more or less directly from the theatre, obviously a forum they are more comfortable with. The dialog is presented in a strange intonation making it stilted and unnatural. It feels false, recited rather than truly experienced. Neither are the characters given much room to become people in the eyes of the audience. Mostly they lack depth and feel more like paper cutouts, hastily put in place and given a token smear of storyline just enough to separate them from the others, rather than as real living people. Transitions between scenes ar... BLAM STOP BLACK SCREEN almost in the middle of a sentence and then a written text proclaiming the next chapter. So strange. So unnatural. So disruptive.

Yes, the movie had a limited budget which explains some of the shortcuts that had to be taken, but... 20 million actually is quite substantial sum as the story doesn't need much in the way of special effects or expensive sets, not really. The focus on the poem is not on the surroundings or the interior of the ship, but on the interactions between the people on board. No, lesbochock nudity and explicit orgies does not cover the vast rifts in the storytelling, though predicibly the attempt was made. The end result isn't bad, not really. It's worse, it's meh. Meh meh meh.

No, I am not a script writer, nor a director, in fact I have no experience with film making but... this could have been done better. So much better. So disappointed.
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6/10
What happens when a poem is filmed.
Shuggy1 August 2019
This is based on a much-loved poem in Swedish written in 1956 (when my school debating club seriously considered "That man will never reach the moon"). Bear that in mind and much makes sense - more sense than the poem ever did to me when I first tried to read it. Much that purports to be science is just poetry. The film-makers have made some attempt to update the plot and the setting, bearing in mind that we have all seen 2001: a Space Odyssey..

The science is still cheesy. The ship has lost all its fuel, but power is uninterrupted and water is abundant (there is not only an extended lesbian shower scene, but a 20m swimming pool!). The architecture of the ship is absurdly angular, but nothing ever springs a leak. The ship's interior has been compared to a shopping mall and a cruise ship, but manufactured goods never show any sign of running out, and the whole thing seems absurdly understaffed.

It's basically an exploration of how an isolated group of people copes when it is cut off from Earth, its memories and hope. The main characters are sufficiently well drawn to explore these themes in, for me, a satisfying way. On those terms, it does well and is worth watching, though you must fill the hints in the chapter headings with your own deductions.
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4/10
Could have been.
jamalking1518 October 2019
Warning: Spoilers
The utter nonsense of living , futility, fatalism, and meaningless, were the themes of this depressing communal society floating endlessly.

Could have been so much more. The love story did not work, and was difficult to find a character to care about. Even the heroine MR could not draw in your sympathy.

Parallels to earth on the ship was attempted, but since the poem was written 60 years ago, it should have been remodeled to reflect a more promising outlook.
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7/10
Brilliant high concept SciFi
Only_Honest_Review8 January 2020
This was a realistic look at what happens to the people on a spaceship if it gets knocked off course and has no way to course correct so drifts for an eternity. This movie isn't about space battles but looks at how a group of people on a spaceship can devolve into anarchy cults despair and suicide. It held my interest because I had no idea where the story was going. It's also a very realistic take on what could happen on the spaceship. I liked the part where they chance upon a bizarre cylinder floating in space and they retrieve it hoping for salvation but the design is alien and its purpose unknown. But it offered hope for a while. This is a refreshingly original SciFi film that asks tough questions about the dangers and mysteries of space travel. The subtitles were easy to read as dialogue was minimal and the production quality was good given the presumably small budget. But it was the intriguing premise of the story that really holds the viewer. What would the passengers do and what would happen on the ship. It's a bleak but realistic portrayal that's fascinating as a film but frightening as well. There's no Disney ending here but a similar story with a more satisfying resolution is Passengers which I also enjoyed though it's more a SciFi romance drama.
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3/10
Disjointed and tiresome (mild spoilers)
kim_smoltz23 May 2019
Warning: Spoilers
Contains mild spoilers.

"Aniara" is an ambitious film project that attempts to bring Harry Martinson's eponymous poem to life on the big screen. At an unknown point in the future (likely several hundred years), Earth is no longer hospitable due to climate change, and humans have begun full colonization of Mars in an attempt to escape inevitable extinction. The method of transportation is a 3-week "space cruise" on the luxury craft Aniara. Sadly, the ship is knocked off course and is doomed to drift indefinitely until the ship runs into a celestial body, at which point they hope to use gravity to slingshot the ship back into orbit.

Full disclosure: I have not read Martinson's poem, or had even heard of it until this film was released. I am going to review this film solely on its own merits. Unfortunately, my work is cut out for me.

The plot is undeniably intriguing, especially to the sci-fi fan, or the dystopian future buffs. As it so happens, I fall into both categories, and I was really excited to see how this extremely limited release film would capture my attention.

80% of "Aniara" did the exact opposite of this, due to a few reasons. The most thrilling moment in this film is when the captain announces that the ship has gone off course, which is met with an audible gasp by the passengers. You can watch that in the trailer. After that, things sort of return to normal. People play mini golf, drink at trendy clubs, shop for suits, and have sex with each other. This served to completely remove me from the claustrophobic themes that are supposed to be present. In the very few scenes where people are shown to be in physical danger or in existential panic, things are resolved neatly and quickly, again cheapening the experience.

The film is divided into chapters (think Lars von Trier) that skip ahead several years each, and we are supposed to fill in the blanks of what goes on in between chapters. There are very few (maybe four?) main characters, whose story arcs are cheapened due to lack of character development caused by these giant jumps in time. I'm a fan of dividing films into chapters, but when it is a choice made at the expense of character and plot development, it falls on its face. This is made worse by the fact that the key interpersonal relationship in the film -- Mimaroben (Emelie Jonsson) and Isagel (Bianca Cruzeiro) -- seems to blossom without the audience giving a chance to learn about the characters. There is supposed to be a strong emotional impact based on this relationship, but I couldn't feel a thing because I knew next to nothing about them. There were so many moments in the film I wished I could rewind to a scene they never shot. I can't tell whether the characters are stale and one-dimensional, or if this was just a massive blunder on the directors' part.

More themes are introduced in each chapter, seemingly out of nowhere:

The most brazen example is a bizarre and completely unnecessary ritualistic orgy scene (pretty much ripped from Stanley Kubrick's "Eyes Wide Shut") that is never explained or mentioned again. Speaking of graphic sex and nudity, there's a ton of it, and none of it seemed to be relevant or necessary. It seemed to be shoe-horned in for a bit of eye candy, which is just annoying and stale to me.

Another great example is the idea of running out of food -- it's mentioned early on that eventually the passengers will need to survive solely on algae (yes, algae), and they recruit passengers to work on the algae farms, but there is no depiction of panic from running out of actual food. The movie just goes on, business as usual. Wouldn't that be a good thing to focus on in this movie that is supposedly supposed to be about a space disaster?

Yet another example is how an AI entity on board suddenly goes rogue for no reason, takes on a speaking personality, and then is shut down because it's malfunctioning. It's just never explained or mentioned again.

I could legitimately go on with several more examples, but you get the picture.

I hate when I start waiting for a film to end, but that's what happened to me and "Aniara." Eventually I just checked out. There are a bunch of quality sci-fi disaster films that deal with isolation, existentialism, and claustrophobia in a much better manner. You can skip this one.
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8/10
Splendid, thought provoking, not for the faint of heart or Disney lovers
cfarhan-7866111 June 2019
Best galactic sci-fi since Event Horizon, Solaris, Sunshine, Interstellar, Arrival, High Life. Those expecting a soft core, Happy go lucky movie please stay away!! Based on a poem from 1956, the movie is gripping & shakes you to your core.

Mankind's worst fears regarding Interstellar travel come true in this film & if you understand how insignificant we are in the grand scheme of things, you'll truly understand the significance of this movie.
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10/10
Among the best of TIFF 2018
bunculav18 March 2019
Aniara is my favorite film of TIFF 2018. It is amazing!

It references several of the innovations and important ideas of our time: human reaction to climate change, the greed of human consumption and waste, interplanetary travel, the implications of hard AI and it's potential for emotional consciousness... All told, Aniara is packed with more ideas than ten similar films. And it quickly explored those while creating characters I grew to care about.

It's the best idea-driven sci-fi I've seen since Arrival and it left me feeling exhilarated. It's definitely worth watching on the big screen.
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6/10
A difficult film to rate, but interesting nonetheless
asandor30 December 2019
Aniara is an interesting science fiction film about a Swedish spaceship transporting colonists to Mars, that is knocked off course ad drifts off into space. The film revolves around a number of characters and how they cope with the vastness and emptiness of space, and the difficulty with facing ones own imminent death.

Aniara is an oddity ,and difficult to fully examine, in my opinion. The film looks quite good, and has a great, science fiction soundtrack. The acting is quite good in many ways, with solid performances all around. Some of the science fiction here is interesting as well, as the film grapples with surviving in space, and all the issues that might entail. However, some of the plot points are quite silly, and the general collapse that the colonists experience feels somewhat forced or odd in certain circumstances. The film has a cerebral aspect to it, which can come across as without substance. Some aspects are interesting, some are mediocre, and some rather tame or silly.

That being said, I still enjoyed my time with this film. As the title states, this is a difficult film to rate, and transcended a like or dislike in my mind. It was certanily interesting to watch, with engaging visuals, solid acting, and an appropriate soundtrack. On the other hand, the directionless feeling of the film, and some of the quirky plot choices are a detraction. This film garners a 6/10 from me, meaning it is overall enjoyable, with a number of aspects that detract from a higher score in my mind.
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Swedish sci-fi has some intersting notions, if a bit muddled in the telling
gortx21 May 2019
Warning: Spoilers
In an era where sci-fi films are most often an action picture with a couple of science fiction elements tossed in to qualify, ANIARA stands apart, even if its not nearly as successful as one would wish. Unsurprisingly, it's an overseas production based in Sweden (inspired by a poem from that country). Written and Directed collaboratively by Pella Kagerman & Hugo Lilja ANIARA tells the tale of a fateful voyage on a ship of the same name. Decked out to resemble a giant boat cruise ship, it's a mission to Mars. We are told it's a "routine" three week voyage. When an accident occurs, the ship is tossed off course and they become a band of castaways (sorry, couldn't resist the Gilligan's Island references - "A three week tour, a three week tour..."). At this point, it must be said that the viewer is asked to accept a couple of galaxy sized plot holes (I will save it for a small spoiler section, clearly marked, at the end). The movie is broken up into several chapters, but, our principle character is Mimaroben (Emelie Jonsson) a sort of psychic healer (a position which becomes more and more important as the crew drifts aimlessly in space). It's through her eyes and interactions that traverse space and time over the journey. Her bunk-mate is a crusty astronomer (Anneli Martini) who's knowledge of science makes her more and more bitter about the mission's outcome. Mimaroben eventually falls for one of the ship's navigators Isagel (Bianca Cruzeiro). But, 'plot' isn't at the heart of ANIARA. The central point of the excursion to Mars becomes irrelevant to that of simple survival. And, endurance. The grand cruise ship with its opulent restaurants, mall style stores and bowling alleys becomes a contained world all its own. As with any contained society, the span of human emotions and behavior rears its head. While it never dissolves into a Lord Of The Flies type situation, breakdowns are inevitable. Again, if one can get past the plot holes, ANIARA does build up some interest over time. It has an intelligence and determination to follow through on its vision. The production design is quite good for a modestly produced picture, even if one doesn't fully buy that the interior matches the wide exterior views of the craft. As stated at the outset, it's a welcome departure from most mainstream sci-fi releases. Still, the mood is relentlessly grim and the dulled acceptance on the part of the passengers comes much too quickly. Push back against the crew is meek and, frankly, unbelievably so. The screenplay also exhibits much too much mysticism (shades of Danny Boyle's similarly disappointing SUNSHINE). If you can make it past all that, the final few sequences do land with a certain wistful and meaningful impact. And, that's something most sci-fi movies currently can't hold claim to.

**********MINOR SPOILERS************

As I noted, the Mission to Mars is termed "routine" at the beginning of the movie. Yet, we are to believe that there is no backup plan whatsoever? No rescue ships? No space lifeboats? Nothing? And, contact with earth isn't maintained? Yes, the earth is in apparent shambles seen in stock footage flashbacks, but, then how is this a 'routine mission'? If this is some kind of space Noah's ark, why isn't there panic to get aboard? It simply doesn't add up.
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5/10
What is it with Swedes?
omendata9 June 2019
Warning: Spoilers
They seem to have a fascination with nudity, orgies and lesbo-sex?

In the old days we were told it was because they had a free way of thinking and it was to be admired but these days it comes across as just an excuse for a bit of perving to be -honest; been done before, not interesting and does not add anything to the story, in fact it detracts from what could have been a very good film.

Some of the ideas in the film were good and put together well with good CGI and the end was rather clever; the ship having reached another Earth like world after 5 million or so years with everyone dead except the microbial dna in the ships grow tanks and then crashing into one of this worlds seas presumably and the spores/dna of humanity would then propagate itself again which I thought was a clever way to end the film. It is just a shame the rest of the film could not have been as well written!

But all in all the film felt disjointed and it did not flow as it should with scenes merely added for the Directors vanity and to fill in what the writers obviously could not.

Could have been above average but once again it remains average. Don't you love how all the intellectual types think this is a masterpiece when we all know it tries to be and fails miserably!
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8/10
Bergman in space?
jadavix5 March 2020
Toward the end of "Aniara" I kept thinking: thank god Bergman never made a science fiction movie. If you think Mother Earth is bleak, wait until you get lost in space, like the characters in "Aniara" do. And you truly do feel as though you're lost with them.

There are few ideas more appalling than drifting inexorably through the infinite blackness of space, not knowing if you're ever going to stop. "Aniara" provides a bleak portrait of people losing their minds as this goes on, resorting to cults, orgies and suicide.

It's a bit like "2001: A Space Odyssey" in reverse. That was about the development of the human species from pre-sapien species to our becoming one with the stars. "Aniara" begins with the stars, rejects oneness, and shows our utter devolution in space.

I say check it out.
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7/10
Space titanic without the cheesyness. 100% Recommend!!
jonerez20 July 2019
Warning: Spoilers
After checking the trailer for this feature I was kinda intrigued. I expected some big depressing narrative with random sex scenes sprinkled for good measure (which I got) and a mature sci-fi focused on hero thrown into space (which was way off). At the end however the positives outnumbered the negatives, and I can say the movie does in fact offer very interesting perspectives into themes like determinism and group thinking.

This is definitely not an emotional film. Cero focus on our protagonist motivations, any traditional character arcs, or building any kind of personal connection with what we are seeing. However is a fascinating study of the psychology of trauma at large:, how those stuck in this spaceship try to cope with the horror of being imprisoned in an eternal trip into nothingness. I think the movie does a fantastic job at keeping up things real in that regard.

The movie looked good, the editing was nice, the soundtrack was ok to boring, and I thought it was very refreshing to finally have a movie without any kind of explanatory moments where all the characters detail their motivations plans and fears to the void for no reason. The time jumping functioned really well and the movie managed to move forward with very little to no action. I never felt like the movie dragged, except for that scene...

Yes, the orgy scene is gratuitous. Of course religious sex rituals exist in real life when traumatized people try to get connection and meaning, but the oysho moment comes out of nowhere, as others have said. If we're going to take the 'it just happened' approach, at least make obvious the motivations behind it for our characters. Do they want more sex to numb themselves? to get a spiritual experience? intimacy? no idea.

It also bugged me that no one cared about the logistics of algae surviving, oxygen purifying, infinite water and alcohol generating boat with zero communication systems. Is not the focus of the movie, of course, but reducing everything to 'it's the future' to go straight into the social engineering was very weird. Apart from that, the whole MIMA-AI consciousness plot was very interesting.I was not expecting the 'suicide', the cult-following or the attempts to replicate it, and I left the movie thinking a lot about it.

This doesn't get 8 stars though because of the ending. Wasn't expecting any kind of epic twist or anything, but lazy is the best adjective I could find for it .Overall this didn't stop me from enjoying the film, but it made it feel amateur when it was obvious there was decent production behind it and a strong concept.
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An Interesting Movie For People Who Like Their Sci-Fi Deep
amoore-210 September 2019
Warning: Spoilers
Overall I enjoyed the movie. However it left many questions unanswered and introduced plot lines that were suddenly dropped and never spoken again in the next epoch. These include the cults and The Spear. I also would have liked to see a resolution to the captain having to atone for his crimes. Finally, we are told that the ship has lost the ability to maneuver, except they later on maneuver the ship in order to dock with The Spear. I'd also say a lot more interesting story happened between year 10 and year 24 but we didn't get to see that.

But after that, there is so many things that the film does right- the space elevator; many of the characters are physically disfigured due to the climate catastrophe on earth; the long, slow drudgery of what it would be like cooped up in a starship, year after year (albeit a massive starship). Even the passengers wish to escape, even if by artificial means (the MIMA) and the eventual self-destruction of same when the AI realises that humans are to blame for everything and no longer wants to have anything to do with them- a great invert to the whole HAL trope.

This is definitely a film with flaws but one I would recommend to anyone who loves their sci-fi deep.
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9/10
Gets to your soul...
geir-8848728 December 2019
Quite in doubt if worth watching, and I understand Swedish. But used the subtitles.

No spoilers, as it is really a worth while watch for those into "Star trek as it would be"... Human race as its most intense.

Some spoilers: no rape, no torture... just humans trying to figure their way in one or the other... its a solid drama, and a solid main character carrying the story.
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9/10
Great
bigfrog627 December 2019
I'll cut to the chase: if you like traditional simplistic Hollywood narratives and big splodey things you might not like this. Add in subtitles and you'll probably hate it. But don't fret! Apparently comic and giant monster films are considered sci fi these days and those are for you!!! But for the rest of us who can appreciate a slow narrative (especially one that spans years), nuance, atmosphere, and a more complex thought provoking narrative this one's for us!
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4/10
So much to say
Roemming14 November 2019
Warning: Spoilers
I don't even know where to start.

I LOVE space movies, and when i saw the movie was Swedish together with Viaplay, i knew i had to watch it.

But. what the F.... The effects was great i, so it seemed like they had everything to make a great space blockbuster movie. Yet the plot, it seemed solid from what i read on Viaplay.

Boy was i wrong, i mean, it wasn't a disaster. But as a HUGE space movie fanatic, this was kind of a disappointment and it hurts to say, it really does.

So, we have a reactor failure, and are then forced to eject the fuel rods. "Because for some reason in the future space travel, we couldn't find a better energy source, and the fact that, how it worked with the engines wasn't addressed annoys me." After ejecting the rods, there is apparently no more left on the ship. Because backup is overrated, am i right?

Also only one reactor? I mean, a normal power plant as far as i know, has at least two or more reactors.

Why is no one out there assessing the damage? Surely a ship that size must have more than one engine, just look at big container ships, or big airplanes, every single one has more that one engine. And if a ship is stranded in the ocean, people can still get to it. So why is BIGGER safety precautions not being in place regarding space flight? And why aren't they contacting others for help???

Anyway, this Mima. Great idea, some sort of VR and augmented reality in one, loved it. But why, just why would you put feelings in to the equation of the AI, and why would an escape reality sim, have an AI in the first place? Seems kinda weird..

And then the rogue captain, seriously what a cliche.. This makes me feel so angry watching people in high positions making these absolute dumb decisions.. The fact that he refuses to listen to and under stand his co-workers, when they're a special engineer in the field. (I'm talking about 'Mimaroben'") And then have the guts to be this bad ass in the gym and act all mighty is just so ridiculous, what kind of captain with this mentality would even get close to a job like this? And then lying to the entire ship about the situation- Just why... Who would do that? You didn't have to say the exact state of the problem, but could say something like, "yes we have a problem, and we are assessing the damage, we will return with further information" Its like none and the captain too, didn't have any training in a situation like this, and also none in crowd control under distress situations.. Again, what the F.. This is really where the plot has holes and or doesn't connect.

They can spot a probe very far away, but not a piece of junk flying towards them, before its to late? Really? all this high tech...

The gabbling operators, why are they new? Where is the crew? Why is there no one in the crew who can and are already trained?

Where is all the alcohol coming from, and why do they have more liqueur than fuel?

What provides this much power when the reactor is down? And why is this power not directed towards the engines, assuming they run on power? Also, why waste power on parties and such.

Now whats with the people and the way they act. I don't even know what to say about it, its so far from reality as it could be.. No one in a almost plane crash, is gonna tell the captain during hes speech, 'I told my son i was gonna be there for hes 4th birthday' As if she didn't understand the seriousness of the situation...

Also look at festivals, and how many people are attending contrary to how few guards there is, this proves that crowd control can be done correctly, with the right education. Or riots.

It was fine overall, i try to see everything from different perspectives, but there was so many things that annoyed me about the plot. There is not many movies like this here in Scandinavia, so it saddens me that the plot feel so rushed, and if no one actually thought about the must simple and common things. It wasn't ready and the people who wrote it, should have had some help from someone professional who could guide them in the right direction of common sense, even in a fantasy-fiction space movie. Hell, the first doom movie has a better and more solid plot..

So to me the plot is holding the movie back for me. Not the effects or the acting. It would all have been better under a more "controlled" Script..

And there for it only get a 4 from me..

I apologize for the long review, but i had to get this out. I Really hope we here in Scandinavia can make more movies of this sort, and be on the level with the bigger studios.
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5/10
2/3rds of the movie is decent, but the final act is one of the worst I've seen in a long time.
Jesus_Chris21 September 2019
The movie isn't bad; it's worth your time to check out if you're into sci-fi. It's got good acting as well.

The problem is the last part of the movie. Not because of story - there is an interesting plot element that should have been explored more - but because the filmmakers seem to have no sense of how to build to a climax. Most of the last few scenes consist of characters wandering around doing mundane things like brushing their teeth. I'm not exaggerating: within the last 12 minutes of the film, the main character literally stops to brush her teeth. Go watch it if you don't believe me.

It's a shame that the movie fizzles out like that. I really was enjoying it up until it lost all its momentum.
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2/10
Science Ed in Sweden??
westsideschl14 September 2019
This was amongst the worst science backed sci-fi movies ever. Swedes need better science ed. 1. A spaceship designed from cruise liner blueprints. Same rectangular (lego like) multi-deck ornate excessively heavy materials that you would find built only on land or on a large cruise ship. Gawd! 2. On again, off again gravity (except for one floating book it was gravity as if still on Earth); that made zero sense. Humorous "Captain speaking, put on seat belts". Help! 3. Three weeks to Mars? Who are they kidding - grade schoolers? 4. Fortunately no zooming sounds as it moves through the vacuum of space, but they did have (and tiresomely repeated) a low frequency humming sound audible in space & typically found on generators in sailing cruise liners. 5. Dumb lack of avoidance detection sensors for space debris. 6. Really dumb when faced w/possible delay in space that they continue to excessively burn calories as if food & O2 were infinite. 7. Remotely reading multiple people's memories & creating augmented reality with Mima swirling lights was beyond fantasy to stupid. 8. Suppose to be a psychodrama on humans under stress turned out to be typical Swedish nude scenes w/a touch of sex of course.
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2/10
So dumb
cakemixed92313 October 2019
It had potential, but in the end it was disappointing and unrealistic. What a waste of 20 million and 2 hours of my life.
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7/10
Space is really big and we all die
robertsjason5510 October 2019
Warning: Spoilers
I just watched High Life two days before I watched this. I think I've seen enough European* Existential Space Movies for one week. But at least the sex scenes aren't nearly as disturbing as High Life.

I did like this one. I wouldn't recommend thinking about the science too much** By the end of it I was feeling claustrophobic, depressed and desperate, but in a good way.

* yes I know High Life is English language, but the director is French. And it feels like it.

** no extra fuel rods in storage or auxiliary rockets? How can they keep the ship powered up for years but have no power to steer the ship? No way to abandon the ship when it went off course? Why does a virtual reality type device have consciousness? Would it really use this consciousness to commit suicide? Why did they have so much algae again, other than as a plot device to explain feeding everyone when the ship sent off course? Wouldn't they run out of booze after about 2 months? Can you ferment algae booze?
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10/10
Aniara; or, Coping with Hopelessness and Loss
Elijah_T31 May 2019
This was so realistically dark, I love it. It's like a darker Passengers (2016) becoming involved with a lighter High Life (2018) and then journeying aimlessly to a distant moon together with a score that's mutely dope.

If you enjoy pondering the bleakness of existence or simply wonder what would happen if a bunch of people escaping damnation suddenly became trapped in their new found sarcophagus while traveling to new hopes, this is your movie. If I'm losing you, it's got a plot that flows surprisingly well with its ups and downs, a few notable uplifting scenes, and some really interesting things going on.

There are a couple of visually and aurally entrancing scenes that kick in out of nowhere. Namely, da club. Y'all, I love it. I must explain, though, that the club itself isn't a random occurrence in the film. It's essential to the world the spacefarers must adapt to. Almost as essential as Mima herself.

Character-wise, Aniara has a huge focus on how people handle the scenario they all find themselves in. One's seemingly stoic, but arguably just plain strong, and puts her focus into meaningful work. Another's letting the hopelessness take her into its indisputable arms and is seemingly longing for an end to the useless efforts to save themselves. A third is slowly breaking down as the hopelessness pulls her into its gaping reach and only wishes she was as strong as the first.

While I can understand people's problem with the way the film touches certain subjects or themes without taking the time to fully explore them, I must say that I felt very satisfied with Aniara's multi-course meal, especially the dessert.

The less you know, the better. If you're considering it, go without reading or watching anything about it (the teaser's mostly safe, but the official trailer has moderate spoilers throughout). Don't read the YouTube comments!

Side Notes:

1) She wrong for what she did, though. Not her, the main one.

2) I want to watch the last 15 minutes all over again.

3) There are four wonderful and beautiful moments of intimacy in this. Only the 2nd and 3rd are sexual.
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10/10
Bleak, beautiful, and a great science fiction movie
imrational25 October 2019
If you want action in your sci-fi, this will not be the movie for you. Likewise, this is not a happy go-lucky film either. However, I consider this movie to be beautiful and worth seeing if you like literary science fiction. I think the only other science fiction I've seen recently that comes close to its impact would be the wonderful Arrival.

Acting is well done. Cinematography is simple, but effective. The lighting was perfectly handled. There is minimal need for special effects, but those included are realistic.

The director used a lot of nuance. A glance, a detail glimpsed conveys so much. Definitely an expert at showing 1,000 words in just a frame.

I'd also like to point out that this is an old science fiction story with many adaptations. Definitely a classic in many ways
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