It’s a wonderful night for a Moonshot….rom-coms come in all shapes and sizes, but there’s a very small file of sci-fi space-exploration rom-coms, and that’s somehow what Chris Winterbauer’s film is. Written by Max Taxe, Moonshot debuts on HBOMax in the US, and Sky in the UK with minimal cinematic fanfare, but don’t let the straight-to-streaming tag dissuade you; this is a neat little movie garlanded with some top musical choices and winning performances from a young cast, it’s an unexpected diversion for family audiences.
Riverdale’s Cole Sprouse plays Walter Scott, a humble barista who harbours dreams of going to Mars. This is 2049, and sending college students to the red planet is very much possible; it’s just far too expensive for Scott’s humble budget. Meeting potential romantic partner Ginny (Emily Rudd) provides Scott with the extra motivation he needs, but how to pay for the trip? When well-heeled Sophie Tsukino (Lana Condor) comes into his robot-run coffee-shop, Scott sees an opportunity to stow away on a shuttle with her, although they both hope for their own romantic partners when they arrive on Mars, so the arrangement is determined to be non-romantic. But love has a way of coming when you least expect it, and Scott and Sophie end up bonding in ways that are assuredly not part of the plan…
‘You ARE my adventure’ is the killer line in Moonshot, a fun space-romp that offers plenty of talking points. It’s amusing to name your protagonist Walter Scott; a cat called Ripley offers a different kind of call-back. And Buckminster Fuller would dig the sentiment “You’ve been on a spaceship all your life’ ; this is a story of two young people who discover that all they need is right here on Spaceship Earth. This is a well-written family film, almost like a live-action Pixar movie; and there’s a cluster of funny performances to savour; Zack Braff as an Elon Musk-style entrepreneur, Michelle Buteau as the ship’s savvy captain, and even veteran Peter Woodward as a bossy-ass service robot.
There’s plenty of clever lines; references to ‘complimentary gravity’ or a ‘mild case of space madness’ hit the spot, as does Sophie’s plan to save the Earth by creating ‘plants that eat garbage’. The leads are likable, the production is slick, and there’s lashings of fresh pop music on the soundtrack, from Donna Blue’s soulful Get Away to propulsive pop banger Better Days (by NEIKED, Mae Muller & Polo G), something of a stone-cold belter in an Ava Max vein, supplied below. In short, Moonshot is a blast, a bolt of cheerful, upbeat cinema for teens of all ages. Let’s blast off!
Thanks to Warner Bros for access. Available on Digital Download in the UK from 25th April