HBO Go review: Magic is missing in Mars-set romcom 'Moonshot'

Fred Hawson

Posted at Apr 04 2022 06:54 PM

 Cole Sprouse and Lana Condor in 'Moonshot'
Cole Sprouse and Lana Condor in 'Moonshot'

It is the year 2049. Walt (Cole Sprouse) was working as the assistant of Gary, the robot barista at the college cafeteria. His main ambition since he was a child had been to go to Mars, influenced by his admiration for pioneering astronaut Leon Kovi (Zach Braff). He had been applying for the Kovi Industries Student Mars Program for more than 30 times already, but his applications were repeatedly rejected. 

Sophie (Lana Condor) was currently working on her thesis which aimed to solve the world's waste disposal problem using plants. She was on a long-distance relationship with her boyfriend Calvin (Mason Gooding) who was had been working on Mars for some time now. Walt convinced Sophie to buy a ticket to Mars despite her fear of flying, and then used her access to the departure area to stow away on her rocketship.

Despite the title, the Moon has nothing to do with this story, but maybe "Mars-shot" did not sound too good. The futuristic setting was quite interesting with all the pseudo-science jargon can be fun. However, these cannot really disguise the very familiar young-adult romance story that it stood on. The story of how two polar opposites were at odds with each other at first, then eventually end up caring for each other was formulaic and quite predictable. 

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Cole Sprouse and Lana Condor were quite good in their portrayal of their respective characters. Sprouse was actually quite charming as the dorky loser type Walt who did not really care that he was being ignored by others as much as he wanted to go to Mars. Condor was credible as a brilliant young scientist Sophie who knew that she may need to sacrifice her own career ambition for love. 

However for a love story, the romantic chemistry between Walt and Sophie was not convincing at all. It felt like it would have been better if they just stayed friends at the end instead of lovers. Condor's Sophie actually had better chemistry with her long-time boyfriend Calvin, while Sprouse's Walt had better chemistry with the pretty Ginny (Emily Rudd) on whom he had a big crush and followed to Mars. 

This review was originally published in the author's blog, "Fred Said."

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