This is not a science fiction film. Anyone going into it expecting sci-fi thrills is going to be disappointed.
I say that because the marketing for this film hints at action and exploration and the triumph of the human spirit. The marketing isn’t exactly lying–we do get some action, and the lead characters are explorers, and there are undertones of triumph. But this is ultimately a somber story about a sad and sick man trying to make a connection as the world ends.
It’s not a sci-fi romp, but it’s well acted, compelling, and thoughtful. It also looks amazing. The set design has a “hopeful futurism” vibe–the 3D printers must have a hygge filter–and the arctic scenes are harrowing and brutal.
Thank you for not de-aging George Clooney: Clooney, who directs and stars in the film, wisely chose to cast a younger actor for flashback sequences. Ethan Peck looks enough like Clooney to make the scenes work. There’s no threat of “Irishman”-level dissonance because Peck moves like the young man he is. What’s interesting is that Peck and Clooney’s voices were merged. Peck ends up sounding like a younger version of Clooney, complete with Clooney’s distinct vocal cadences.