Considering the world’s dire straights, contemplative science fiction films hold more relevance than ever, taking to task several critical facets that are often overlooked in society. Writer/director Seth Larney’s debut film 2067 sets its sights on our degenerative environment, though its so-so follow-through can’t convey the weight of its ambitions.
Set in a dystopian world where the air has become a commodity, 2067 follows Ethan Whyte (Kodi Smit-McPhee), a grunt worker who is thrust into a vital role in saving the world. As the son of an acclaimed scientist, Ethan is sent forward in time to bring back a cure for their ongoing pandemic, though his task may not be as straightforward as it seems.
For his debut feature, Larney makes a relatively strong impression. His visceral direction aptly works to construct a lived-in science fiction landscape, depicting a society teetering towards destruction (seeing “air” as a higher-quality privilege has a painful relevance to our COVID-world). The Blade-Runner-inspired visuals present enough inventive details to stand out from 2067’s science fiction peers. It’s also easy to appreciate the thematic bones of Larney’s material, with the film occasionally touching on how governments look for cheap solutions to environmental problems and how the poor are viewed as negligible sacrifices towards the world’s survival.
While 2067 presents engaging ideas, Larney’s script lacks proper follow-through. Instead of slowly building these conceits throughout the narrative, much of the focus goes towards the narrative’s mechanical design, fixating on plot details over the intriguing ideas simmering under the surface. The film ends up making these pertinent values feel more like window dressing, as they are appealing at first glance but ultimately hollow under full examination.
If the film can’t deliver substantive ruminations, does it least satisfy that genre movie itch? Not quite. While the story does get off to a promising start, most of the narrative travels down well-trudged territory. There’s little on paper that surprises audiences, with the script setting up plot twists that could be predicted by most. Larney’s character work also comes off as thin. Kodi Smit-McPhee’s central protagonist is little more than a pleasant everyman, lacking the dimension or humanity to connect with audiences.
2067 can’t quite reinvent its familiar sci-fi trappings. That being said, Seth Larney’s debut does show promise, with his pertinent ideas and assured craftsmanship displaying his bright future in the industry.