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Captain Nova Review – But Why Tho? A community of geeks

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Most kids I know these days are acutely aware of how little time we have left to reverse climate change before their future is irreversibly jeopardized. We don’t need a Gen X team to tell them: we have to act now or else. That is why Captain Nova, a Dutch-language Netflix Original directed by Maurice Trouwborst and written by Trouwborst and Lotte Tabbers baffles me. It’s a family film about a time traveler who returns to her youth to stop a single act of corporate greed that is single-handedly destroying the planet some 20 years later. Sadly, however, the film is neither exciting nor poignant and almost feels like a step backwards in climate advocacy and education.

The film begins on an exciting note. Nova (Kika van de Vijver) is on a secret mission, but she and her AI ADD veer slightly off course, crash, and find themselves with no choice but to trust the first child they meet, Nas. From a sci-fi perspective, this whole intro was very cool. The time travel is very well shot and when Nova emerges she is taken back to her 12 year old age in 2025. ADD is a passable sidekick, giving good one-liners here and there without being annoying, but never really getting into the domain of attachment.

The middle act is also pretty decent. The authorities are after Nas and Nova and the mountain suspense is fun as the mystery surrounding Nova’s secret mission ensues. Everything begins to fall apart as the authorities quickly realize there must be some kind of time travel involved. Removing that layer of suspense quickly diminished my interest in that side of the plot. With authorities more interested in helping solve the problem while the children are still on the run, Captain Nova quickly turns into my favorite trope of antagonism as a result of miscommunication.

Deteriorating my enjoyment is how completely absent the action sequences are. Again, there’s a bit of sci-fi to Nova’s weaponry that leads to some decent gags, but her utter stoicism as a character and lack of dynamism in the action drives it all. Nas is a cute kid, and I see where they were going with Nova’s tough shell. I even see the connection between them. I just wish they had a little more opportunity to show their personality, especially Nova.

Likewise, if the action matched the outlandish plot, the film might have been better balanced. As it stands, there’s one thrilling action sequence, and the rest just don’t bring much to the table. It’s a shame, because in many ways the plot feels like it would fit just fine among the over-the-top children’s action films of my own youth, à la spy on kids Where Agent Cody Banks. Clearly what makes these types of cheesy plots work so well is a cast that sells it and a script to go along with it, and Captain Nova doesn’t really bring either.

Perhaps the disappointment would also be lessened if Captain Nova had not staked his plot on a subject as heavy and important as the climatic catastrophe. Its lackluster plot leaves me feeling as dismal as ever about the future of the planet, not just because it lacks heart as a movie, but because it approaches its activism in a totally wrong way. Saving the future does not depend on anything realistic or reflected in our reality. If the plot had been about almost literally something else, it might not have seemed like such a big deal, but it looks like Captain Nova chooses this subject in order to take stock of the protection of the earth, so it is fair to judge its effectiveness.

To leave me with the impression that the only solution he offers to prevent our planet from becoming like theirs is to time travel and change a person’s heart is not exactly inspiring. It just left me feeling as sad as ever. And if individual guilt and solitary dissent aren’t the two lessons I was to take away from the film, then you can hardly blame me, since that’s the only solution the film offers from start to finish. I know it’s just a kids movie, but kids are smart and they’re well aware of the climate threat, so talking to them, or the adults watching too, with this oversimplified plot just doesn’t feel right. not good.

There are endearing qualities to Captain Nova. It’s not a bad movie outright. But it’s disappointing, with a lack of dynamism or message in the end. His early acts are filled with glimmers of hope and intrigue, they just spit at the end.

Captain Nova is streaming now on Netflix.

Captain Nova

6/10

TL;DR

There are endearing qualities to Captain Nova. It’s not a bad movie outright. But it’s disappointing, with a lack of dynamism or message in the end. His early acts are filled with glimmers of hope and intrigue, they just spit at the end.