Aside from those already mentioned, her co-stars do not fair much better. Pratt is at least more energetic than most, but she never seems like she is having all that much fun. Again, this means the audience is bored. Zimmerman’s idea of playing a bad guy is to wear a slightly silly hat. That is about all he brings to the table, as he is stiff and awkward in the role.
A low budget film can overcome such limitations with a bit of creativity in the set design (see 2047: Virtual Revolution). But Starship Patrol fails, yet again, in that regard. This was shot during quarantine, so the actors could not be on a proper set. All well and good, as everyone’s health, should come first. But not a single person even attempted to dress up the single wall behind them (medium static shots are the bland visuals of the day). No blinking lights in boxes, or even blank paper colored to represent a computer console, button, screen, or anything of that sort. So, for the 900th time, this leaves the viewers in a state of pure tedium. There is nothing visual going on here, so this barely qualifies as a movie.
The costuming is just as horrendous. One would think that an attempt would be made to give the crew of the November a uniform look, maybe slight variance due to both the way it was shot and rank. But that is bungled as well. Bancroft and Kayla are wearing very similar, plain black shirts. But Luis, while his undershirt is black, has on a tan-brown buttoned shirt. While the tactical officer, Jacob, is wearing a purple shirt and a long sweater jacket. If one were to see stills of each of these characters, there is no way that they’d believe these people were from the same movie, much less that they were meant to serve on the same ship.
“…jumbled and confusing.”
The kicker is that these costumes do not even match the paper bag puppets. Those are black with purple lines. None of the actors at any point in the film are wearing something even close to that. A consistent visual palette should not be that hard, but this is all just so jumbled and confusing.
Then there’s the story structure. Starship Patrol opens with a man dying roughly 150 years after the main events. He recounts, to his daughter, how their world was saved by Space Patrol, which segues into the bulk of the action. It is an unnecessary framing device, that is not used enough, and creates several plot holes. This person was not around when November took the shoot that ultimately meant they’d lose their weapons. So, how is he telling that part of the story? Quite frankly, so much of the plot happens when he isn’t around that it does not make any sense.
Of course, there’s the padding, the scenes that go on too long, its overindulgent runtime. But, the final 40-minutes of Starship Patrol almost work. Not quite, but once the infection of an entire world is brought into the picture, proper stakes are introduced, and things finally have weight. Of course, that leaves nearly 2-hours beforehand with little to do or reason to exist, which is why the finale is not as grand as it should be.
Starship Patrol is based on a podcast and should have remained there. Releasing it in 30-minute, or so, chunks, with an opening recap and introducing any new players each episode, means this story might actually work. But as it is, it is barely a movie. Its visuals are not just bad, they are unimaginative. The acting, minus two cast members, leaves a lot to be desired, and things are so padded out that there are no stakes until 70% the way in. This sucks, a lot, and is not worth its lengthy time commitment.
"…is barely a movie."