Brandon Routh, Dane Cook, Caity Lotz, Ben Feldman
Directed by Matt Osterman
Four astronauts enter a simulated environment of a space craft to prepare for a trip to space. Their problem solving, quick-thinking, and sanity will be tested and they haven’t even left Earth.
The inside of a spacecraft has been built underground, where the astronauts will live for 400 days. If any one of them goes above ground, all four will lose their position to go to space and another group of astronauts will be selected. When they start to lose oxygen in their ship, only a few days from completing their simulation, they risk going outside for air. For weeks they couldn’t reach mission control and have no information about what has been going on above ground.
What these astronauts find outside leads to unanswered questions. There is no sun, no moon, no stars. The ground they walk on is dusty. When they find civilization, the people left behind in this barren world are barely responsive. The countdown continues and the astronauts are left to wonder what kind of simulation did they sign up for.
There was so much potential for 400 Days to be a great sci-fi movie, but the lack of character development hindered it. The idea of putting four people in a closed environment for 400 days to watch if they lose their sanity could have worked. Instead, their time in the underground spacecraft was boring. The characters try to be sympathetic; one leaves behind a son, while another is recently broken up with before his mission.
We hardly see them do anything scientific on board, besides growing plants and having psychology tests to determine their mental health. It’s hard to sell these characters who are supposed to be smart when all we see them do is play cards, work out, and talk to each other.
By the time they leave their craft and see that something is seriously wrong with the planet, interest in the movie picks up. However, there’s not enough answers to the questions the astronauts (and viewers) have about what happened while they were underground. The last 30 minutes could have really made a great ending, but fell flat.
photo credit: http://www.thereelword.net/400-days-trailer-210915/