The Drift (2014)

5000 Pounds.

It hardly sounds like enough to create a deep-space, hardware-heavy, science fiction movie, even in the age of CGI, let alone one this solid and substantial.  I honestly have no idea how Backyard Productions did it.

Sure, the CGI is a bit weak in places, although they do an impressive job of hiding that behind the foggy void and floating debris of the drift where most of the film takes place.

What is even better is the densely conceived universe in which all this takes place.  They put a lot of thought into all of layers of history behind this story, from the technology powering the spacecraft, to the hints of government conspiracies, to the paranoid maneuverings going on just beneath the surface, and, of course, the great disaster that reshaped this world.

The Starlight crystal once made spaceflight between distant planets simple, but then the Darkwave happened – a mysterious pulse that destroyed all the crystals, stranding thousands of ships in space with no hope of rescue or return home.  Ever.

A salvage crew, in a ship powered by one of the few remaining shards of the crystals, is sent to a spaceship graveyard in search of whatever treasures they can take from the wreckage.  Only their mission may not be as simple as they’ve been told, and the wrecks aren’t quite as dead as they seem…

For all the criticisms some people have made, I found the film’s sets, props and costumes to be convincing.  It all has an admirable solidity to it:  there is little here that would single it out as the work of an all volunteer crew with a tiny budget if it were shown on the SyFy Network (well, other than being better than most of their schlock, of course).

I was particularly impressed with the sequence in which they maneuver through the drift and dock on their first target.  It is a brutal, white-knuckle ride, despite most of it being either effects, or shots of the crew strapped in their seats.  There is some real talent behind this film, whether amateur or volunteer or not.

Bravo.  I can’t wait to see what they do next.

I’m sure it will be well worth watching.

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