Picture of Derrick Dunn

Derrick Dunn

Despite Adam Sandler’s best efforts, Spaceman doesn’t lift off

Adam Sandler reunites with Netflix for the Science Fiction drama, “Spaceman.” The movie is directed by Johan Renck and written by Colby Day, who adapted the novel “Spaceman of Bohemia” for the screen. The story revolves around Jakub (Adam Sandler), an astronaut who embarks on a solitary research mission to the solar system’s edge. After six months of isolation, Jakub realizes that his marriage with Lenka (Carey Mulligan) may be in jeopardy and not be waiting for him when he returns to Earth.

Desperate to save his relationship, Jakub receives help from a mysterious creature named Hanuš (voiced by Paul Dano), who he finds hiding in the bowels of his ship. Hanuš, an ancient extraterrestrial being, helps Jakub understand what went wrong in his marriage. The two work together to uncover the root cause of Jakub’s marital problems before it’s too late.

One of the first things potential viewers should know before hitting play on “Spaceman” is that the film is a thinking person’s sci-fi film. Sandler is very subdued in the film, and if the film had arrived in the fall, Sandler would be chasing an Oscar. However, that doesn’t appear to be the case, as Sandler wants to challenge himself as an actor. At its core, the film epitomizes the themes of solitude and detachment, in which silence plays a pivotal role.

Silence is the core theme of the movie. It weaves an intricate tapestry on human nature’s struggle to communicate meaningfully with others- to recognize another’s presence, understand their emotions, and anticipate their needs. Upon listening to Hanuš’s poignant words, Jakub faces this harsh truth: “She has always been present before you yet unnoticed.” These words echo as they reflect his inability to self-reflect or recognize his own deepest emotions – where memories leave indelible marks and fears fester profusely. Silence, therefore, symbolizes more than just physical quietude; it permeates through space-time, creating a rampant solitude atmosphere. Such a condition becomes prevalent when one encounters crises or transitional moments. Sandler and Dano have a relatable chemistry throughout the film. The rest of the human cast, Carrey Mulligan and Isabella Rossellini, are also good.

However, the film may offer little entertainment for viewers who want something more exciting. I appreciate Sandler’s effort to broaden his acting skills, which is commendable. Spaceman seems to rely too much on cinematic tropes, hoping to evoke tears, whether due to a fundamental flaw or the movie’s length that challenges the average audience. Unfortunately, it is unclear whether this issue stems from the source material or the execution of the adaptation, but the result is disappointing overall despite Sandler’s strong turn.

Final Grade: C+
“Spaceman” will be released globally on Netflix on March 1.

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