Movie review: Spectral is your typical sci-fi flick

A war torn dystopian future has spread across Europe in the latest Netflix military sci-fi original film, Spectral, directed by Nic Mathieu.

Nic Mathieu offers a directorial style that is not too much for the eye to handle. You feel like you’ve seen this story before, but it’s different enough to make you want to keep watching.

Spectral shines light on some of the sci-fi stereotypes that are known and loved by the genre’s fans. In short, a special task force goes on a covert mission searching for the white and ice blue invisible ghosts that have infected the city and its inhabitants.

Little does this military team know, there isn’t a way of killing these ghosts conventionally, guns won’t work. The only evidence the squad has to go off of is the footage found from a dead Delta Force member. A mysterious invisible form partially shows up on the video, and is seen passing through the soldier thus killing him.

Dr. Mark Clyne developed the high-tech hyperspectral goggles that were issued to the team for use in combat. With no way of seeing or fighting against these ghosts, it’s up to Dr. Mark Clyne to fly to the location of the base to help resolve their problem.

The beginning of the film starts out authentic in the way everything was established. The first half of Spectral gets busy explaining to the viewer what is going on in this world via showing new battle footage, frozen corpses with burnt skin, and introducing Dr. Mark Clyne and the task force he is with.

A civil war is supposed to be arising soon in the area these soldiers are going to be searching, so the weight of two separate attacks is weighing on their mind.

Nic Mathieu shows us a landscape filled with blown up buildings, a gritty but intellectual doctor in Mark Clyne (James Badge Dale), and an unknown enemy that can’t be spotted unless a person is wearing a set of hyperspectral goggles has the viewer’s interest peaked.

Nevertheless, the film took on a low budget feel. Everything began looking like a laid-back Hollywood spinoff rather than scientific. Characters were thrown into the story without an adequate explanation of who they were, which made for the credibility of conversations amongst those characters to get lost.

On top of lacking credibility, there was often too much dialogue being exchanged, but not the dense and thought-provoking kind. It followed more so along the lines of babble and aimless ranting. A lot was going for their tech talk, I just felt the writers went about it in a not so serious way.

In between major plot descriptions and fighting scenes, a lingering feeling of unnecessary filler sequences came into play as well. There was no tension or risk during these scenes. Not every moment in a sci-fi film has to have these elements, but I was distracted in searching for the purpose in some of these spots.

Spectral is a sci-fi action flick that would appeal to anyone who is a fan of the genre. Sure, the film doesn’t leave you feeling whole, but it doesn’t quite disappoint you all the way either.

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