Prospect is an independent American science fiction film which had a limited release on the big screen in 2018 and which was then released online the year after. It is directed by Zeek Earl and Chris Caldwell and is based on a 2014 short film of the same name. A young girl accompanies her father, an experienced prospector, to the Green Moon, where they plan to dig for treasures that will bring them immeasurable wealth. However, things do not start off well; their landing pod crash lands in an area well way from their intended landing zone and it is severely damaged. Things only get worse from there as, on their way to the dig site, they are waylaid by a pair of desperate marauders. As you can see, although it is science fiction, the plot of Prospect is very much that of a traditional western.
The first thing that drew me to Prospect was a visual of the heroine, which I came across on Pinterest whilst I was looking at pictures of women in spacesuits. The heroine’s spacesuit had a wonderful retro look to it, rather like the spacesuits from the science fiction TV shows of the 70s, which I adore. Once I had determined that the visual was from a film and that this film was available to watch online, I couldn’t resist checking it out.
There were quite a number of things I liked about Prospect, but I will just discuss the main ones. First of all, the retro aesthetic in Prospect was delightful: it has a lot of chunky, well-worn technology and a lot of paper, in the form of such things as notebooks and maps. And for such a low-budget project, the visual effects were top notch, in particular the shots in outer space. Perhaps more could have been done to make the Green Moon look more alien, but you do get to see some glorious alien skyscapes a couple of times. Then we have the cast. They were few in number (as you would expect), but they were all great: Sophie Thatcher, who played the young girl, is excellent as a rather sullen, but very relatable young heroine who does her best to overcome the numerous difficulties she faces on an alien world (see the image above). Pedro Pascal (who I guess today is best known for his starring role in The Mandalorian) is also excellent as one of the marauders; he manages to come across as both threatening and charming at the same time. Another thing I liked about Prospect is its plot, which preferences character interactions and character development over action, and even when there is action, it is gritty and scrappy and not at all over-the-top. And finally, I think the music by Daniel L.K. Caldwell deserves a mention as well. Like the plot, it is subdued (and perhaps a little generic), but it certainly does a great job of adding to the moodiness of the story.
Needless to say, I loved Prospect. I think it is a well-crafted and thoroughly engaging lo-fi science fiction film. It is not faultless (for example, the main characters’ story arcs do feel a little rushed), but I highly recommend it to those who, like me, love the science fiction and fantasy novels from the latter half of the 20th century.😊