By Dave B.
Orbiter 9 is a Spanish-language movie that tells the story of a young woman, Helena, trapped alone on a spaceship in need of repair. Or at least that’s what she thinks. When a visitor arrives to fix the ship, her entire perspective on reality changes. Conceptually, Orbiter 9 is really interesting, but it has some annoying flaws. However, despite those flaws, it manages to be fairly entertaining and sets itself apart from Netflix’s typical underachieving science fiction fare in an important regard.
In no way is Orbiter 9 a great film. The plot has some significant inconsistencies. For example, the world is technologically advanced enough to control the weather, but not advanced enough to clean the oceans? It just doesn’t seem plausible to me. Characters are often introduced for seemingly irrelevant purposes. The society in which the movie takes place has an astonishing lack of ethics considering how technologically sophisticated they are. Potentially interesting plot points are left unaddressed after being mentioned once. As is typical for a Netflix science fiction offering, a great concept is diminished by a weak plot and a mediocre script.
What makes Obiter 9 different from many of Netflix’s other subpar science fiction movies however, is that it doesn’t try to disguise it’s weaknesses through impressive special effects and overpowering CGI. Instead, it focuses on developing empathy for Helena as she transitions into a new life and learns about the heartbreaking fate that awaits those who are part of the Orbiter program. Orbiter 9 also has fairly strong performances from its two leads, Alex Gonzalez and Clara Lago. Although the initiation of their relationship seems implausible to me, they have decent on-screen chemistry with each other.
I’ve been a critic of a lot of Netflix’s original science fiction programming (despite some true gems, like Altered Carbon) because I’ve seen that Netflix can do great things in other genres when it actually gives a damn about quality control. By no means is Orbiter 9 a great movie, but I do recommend it because it has a good concept and it owns its weakness (plot) and plays to its strength (empathy).
I have no clue what I'm doing, but I'll keep doing whatever it is to the best of my ability.