CRATER just may be one of the most surprising original films to ever be released on Disney+. Yes, ever. That is not an exaggeration. Billed as a sci-fi adventure, we were expecting this to be anything from the corny SPACE CAMP (1986) to the saccharin ZENON: GIRL OF THE 21ST CENTURY (1999) but CRATER is so very much more.
Don’t get me wrong, those other two movies are absolutely lunarious in their own rights but we weren’t expecting CRATER to be a truly touching coming-of-age story — that is also set on the moon. While it would be ludicrous to compare it to the likes of something like 1986’s STAND BY ME, the movie honestly has echoes of that type of emotion.
With a fairly rocky start (we really did almost turn the movie off at first) the pace quickly builds into a buddy-flick with a group of friends who unwittingly embark on a journey that will literally change them for the rest of their lives. Think STRANGER THINGS but less nerdy and set on a fairly dystopian lunar mining colony.
This will absolutely require a prerequisite suspension of belief — it is sci-fi, after all — so if you’re the type to dwell on the “that isn’t scientifically accurate” then this will not be the movie for you. But if you can look past the fast-and-loose creative liberties with what life on the moon in the year 2257 would actually be like, then buckle up for one heck of a ride.
At the heart of the group is Caleb Channing (Isaiah Russell-Bailey) who is joined by his three best friends, Dylan (Billy Barratt), Borney (Orson Hong) and Marcus (Thomas Boyce), and a new arrival from Earth, Addison (Mckenna Grace). Together, they embark on a journey to seek out a mysterious crater following the death of Caleb’s father (Scott Mescudi). The group hijacks a rover and sets out on a surprisingly action-packed adventure that truly feels like the epic kind of nostalgic childhood story tropes of the 1980s and 1990s — the likes of which are few and far between today in supercharged superhero film slates.
Despite the scientific leaps of faith required to accept the backdrop for the story, director Kyle Patrick Alvarez has really crafted a film with some gravity. If you peel away the futuristic component, you still have a great story that is full of heart and the exploration of the endearing bonds of childhood friendship. Perhaps the most unexpected component is that it does not cheap out for the expected happy ending and it may very well elicit a tear or two by the time the credits roll.
Consider us completely surprised that this movie is at the same time both fully nostalgic and yet oddly futuristic but all together distinctly GOOD. CRATER is absolutely worth a 1-month rental fee of Disney+ if you’re not already a subscriber.
See it for Yourself
CRATER is ready for launch now on Disney+.