Io (2019) Review

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Io (2019): 3 out of 10: Pollution renders Earth virtually uninhabitable as the remaining population flees to Jupiter’s Moon Io. One shuttle to Jupiter is left and Margaret Qualley has to decide if she will be on it or stay behind to help save the earth. A fellow procrastinator (Anthony Mackie) shows up in a hot-air balloon to take her with him to catch the shuttle.

And on to the questions.

Are you going to quote Roger Ebert?

Why yes I am “no good movie features a hot-air balloon,” I think speaks for itself.

So what is this movie like?

It is a combination of “The Martian” and Vincent Price’s The Last Man on Earth.

Oh, but doesn’t that sound cool?

You would think, but The Martian took place (spoiler alert) on Mars and The Last Man on Earth had all those vampire creatures attacking every night. Plus those movies starred Matt Damon and Vincent Price respectfully while this film stars Andie MacDowell’s daughter.

But there have to be some neat action scenes?

No, there is not. Sure they go into the dead zone wearing oxygen masks and “oh no the oxygen is getting low better change the tank” but it is like a diving movie with no sharks and no treasure… and for that matter no coral and no fish… heck, it just has fall foliage and an abandoned library with on the nose statues of Greek mythology with quotes pertinent to the story. Nothing actually happens.

I mean Anthony Mackie shows up that brings the excitement, yes?

Anthony Mackie is a decent actor but if he does not bring the excitement when he is flying around in a Marvel movie he certainly isn’t bringing it here. He and Qualley have zero chemistry together for two people that are basically the last people on earth.

Well, if it is called Io, at least they go to Jupiter at some point, yes?

Ha, no. If I were to title this movie, it would be Indie Platform Walking Simulator the movie. This film shares a lot in common with those horrible cheap video games with poor graphics, muted grey colors, poor or non-existent gameplay and then they try to browbeat you with an unsubtle message about disability, depression or cancer to guilt you into buying it on Steam cause your last game had a cheerleader armed with a chainsaw fighting zombies.

So you would rather watch a chainsaw-wielding cheerleader battle zombies movie?

Well, yes. But what I would have liked to see in this film is the characters interact outside of canned speech. Throw a curveball, have an erotic sex scene, have somebody drop a coffee cup. Do something. Minimalism doesn’t have to mean a lack of conflict or passion. A windstorm and finding a bee isn’t cutting it. Don’t be afraid that by entertaining you will lose whatever cred you were going for.

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