Top critical review
Obvious Product of an Inside Joke or Private Conversation
Reviewed in the United States on June 26, 2021
The cinematography looks too bad to be intentional/forced. Limitations on budget and sets is one thing, but it isn't ever really clear what the characters are doing or going towards. Some angles are awkward and don't frame scenes in a way that would make the strange going-ons visually impactful or supporting the story. I think the 'dated' practical effects suffered because of the camera angles and poor direction to the actors. Especially the ones in Jetpacks.
There's a lot that isn't said or made clear-- I am going to plainly say that I don't even care the infected crew member is doing their psychedelic scrapbooking at the end-- it doesn't tell us anything about what happened or why it is significant. There are references to obscure artsy things that make me think this film is the product of a private conversation or even inside joke.
The story, per Director's own review of film, may be played straight and is not treated as a joke. In my opinion that is a failing in the 'depiction' of the sadly garbled 'narrative.' I wanted to get the point, but ultimately it didn't piece together into anything meaningful.
Hopefully team involved will make another film and focus on improving visual story-telling and improved cinematography. The Screenplay needs an outsider's perspective to weed out obscure fixations that don't translate to the audience or contribute to the story's progression. For example, who cares about the Soviet era Stamp or the Renaissance Christian Art? How do these things connect and does a viewer care long enough to find it before simply writing off the film?
Even 'Trek doesn't take itself seriously, but at least the narrative and depictions are cohesive.