Can humanity survive? That’s the biggest and boldest question that 5 Galaxies asks us with giant text in the beginning of the movie. While that theme might be overused as a lot of other sci-fi movies (Blade Runner, Terminator etc.) play around with it to a certain degree, 5 Galaxies attempts to be an ambitious and bold science-fiction movie by telling five different stories with different times, places, and characters, but suffers from having a severe lack of interconnectivity across the shorts, forgettable characters, and no real sci-fi feel for the majority of it.
5 Galaxies’s main story focuses on five different stories, with different characters and different types of situations. And that’s where the first issues come to play. While each short does have its own title, place, and time, each story felt so disconnected from the others, that it became a real struggle to connect with each character.
Where things get a bit more jarring and challenging is that each short feels like a different movie that has virtually no connection to the others what so ever. For instance, our first short in the film is called Seed, and the story follows a man’s 40th birthday party as he says his goodbyes and his family has one last chance to spend time with him, knowing that they’ll never see eachother again. The significance of his 40th birthday is that people who turn 40 are executed due to issues of overpopulation and increases of consumerism, and that’s about it. It doesn’t really go anywhere from there. It doesn’t even really have any connection to the movie’s overall theme.
The short that really felt out of place was the second one, In/Finite, which takes place in 2071 and is directed by Kristen Hilkert. Jane (Ashlee Mundy) is the black sheep of the family and is depicted as somewhat depressive. The story follows a dinner party where she tries to get up the nerve to tell her family that she is leaving on a one-way voyage to Mars. The story definitely does not take place in the same universe as Seed, and it does not share any characters, themes, or other parts you would expect from stories that interlock. If all things are correct, this short is supposed to take place in the year 2071, where Seed was set nearly 20 year in the past. Aside from the mission to Mars, nothing about this particular short film felt truly science-fiction, not even in the slightest. It could have been set today, 1995, or even 100 years in the past. There was no concrete evidence of the time and setting. What’s more important is that it never even remotely dives into the theme that the movie proposed to us right from the beginning.
Sci-fi movies can be effective, even if they don’t have a small budget. Ex Machina and Alien are two of many examples that come to mind, where the budget was small but the execution was solid and well structured. 5 Galaxies, undoubtedly, had a small budget and one can tell from its low-quality production design and it’s subpar directing. The effectiveness of 5 Galaxies is undercut by a bleak and very unpleasant look, to the point where just by looking at one frame of this movie makes you want to bathe. Maybe the intention was never executed properly, because the movie’s look had the quality of a really bad amateur fan film. Almost every single shot in this movie had a grey and tinted look it to the point where it was too distracting. It’s worth pointing out that these five different shorts, directed by five different people, were repackaged as one whole movie. That’s where the movie becomes wildly inconsistent, and that never jived well at all because the biggest problem that 5 Galaxies has is that it should have been five original and separate short films The idea of putting all five of these completely random “sci-fi” shorts together felt odd, and it bears repeating how none of them felt similar in any way, shape, or form.
What’s even more surprising is there are a few recognizable faces in this movie, particularly with actress Pom Klementieff (most notably known as Mantis from Guardians of the Galaxy). Her character pops up in the first short, and, just like every other character in this movie, hers is neither memorable nor interesting. The rest of the characters in the entirety of the movie aren’t fully rounded or fully realized and are hard to remember, considering there are a lot and it’s a hassle to remember who is who.
The bottom line, there’s clearly something unique and grand in the midst of 5 Galaxies. That being the case, the movie is perplexing right from the start because none of the shorts tie together, the characters are bland, the story doesn’t really make sense, and the directing doesn’t really grab you as much it wants to. It never addresses or even remotely dives in to the burning question that it asks in the beginning, even knowing that it’s barely an hour and a half. As far as the science-fiction genre is concerned, 5 Galaxies doesn’t really do it any favors.
Available on DVD and digital December 10th, 2019.
Final Score: 2 out of 5.