‘The Midnight Sky’, George Clooney’s $100 Million Mistake

Boring in a theater, boring at home

I saw The Midnight Sky in a theater a couple of weeks ago. It was the second movie I’d seen in a theater since quarantine started. I was excited, since it isn’t very often that new movies come out in theaters these days. Unfortunately, this particular movie did not even come close to my expectations. The Midnight Sky is on Netflix now. I should have waited. But it wouldn’t have been any better on TV.

THE MIDNIGHT SKY ★★(2/5 stars)
Directed by: George Clooney
Written by: Lily Brooks-Dalton, Mark L. Smith
Starring: George Clooney, Felicity Jones, David Oyelwo
Running time: 118 min

I expected a Sci-Fi movie made in 2020 to be fun, maybe make my heart race a little bit. Instead, all I found when watching The Midnight Sky was a boring plot line followed by boring and almost painful dialogue along with a bunch of out-of-place flashbacks. They don’t reveal the actual plot line until over an hour into the movie, and at that point the lack of character development along with the weird flashbacks had me almost falling asleep in my chair.

The basic plot is very similar to Interstellar, only executed far worse. Some undisclosed disaster makes the planet uninhabitable, so George Clooney has to find a way to communicate to some astronauts still in space that they need to go inhabit a new planet instead. The entire time I was watching, all I could think was, “Man, I could be watching Interstellar for the fifth time and I’d be enjoying myself a lot more.”

The Midnight Sky, which earned a whopping $60,000 at the box office, had a budget of $100 million, so there were pretty visuals and a few fun action scenes. Unfortunately, they didn’t make up for the drab, slow tone of the rest of the movie. Never once did anything get me on the edge of my seat, because I had so little empathy for the characters that I honestly didn’t care what happened to them. The soundtrack was also good, but it doesn’t make up for the plain plot and bad characters. And some weird pacing choices involving music even ruins the movie’s best, most exciting scene.

The Midnight Sky left me underwhelmed and wanting to watch a real science-fiction movie with actual flavor. It was the kind of movie that had me desperately wanting to check my phone for the time because I desperately wanted to know how much time was left. The answer: Too much.

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Elijah Pollack

Elijah Pollack written for both Book and Film Globe and Rock and Roll Globe. He's also the cohost of the Extra Credit podcast on Audible, and has written for Observer.com.

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