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Virtuality (2009)
Movie Review by The Gravedigger

Virtuality (2009) The crew of the spaceship Phaeton, now approaching Neptune, has to make a decision. Well, Commander Pike (NEW AMSTERDAM'S Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) has to make the final decision if they are to slingshot around the planet to get up to near light speed and head to an earth-like planet-- or return to Earth. They keep on getting messages from earth that flooding is increasing, land is at a premium and that the human race would be extinct in a hundred years. They're not sure if they are being falsely pressured or if it's a genuine reality.

Since space is limited on the ship they use virtual reality for escape and recreation. For example, the second in command, who is in a wheelchair, has adventures mountain climbing. A reporter has herself as a Buckaroo Banzai like heroine, who sings the Munsters theme song, in Japanese, to a screaming Japanese audience. That is a hoot.

Then weird things start happening with their virtual reality adventures--they are being interrupted by this strange blonde haired guy. In the instance of the commander, who is experiencing a Civil War fight, the blonde guy shoots him. The doctor, who discovers he has the early stages of Parkinson's Disease, which may jeopardize the mission, is pushed over the edge of a cliff. What this does in both cases is make these guys less afraid of death, freeing them up for what may come, which is interesting.

Things take a turn for the worse when the Commander is nearly sucked out an airlock and is killed. He'd been having an affair with the psychologist's wife in virtual reality and his death is suspicious. In the end, which seems abrupt, this woman encounters the commander in virtual reality, suggesting that his consciousness is still 'alive' and aware.

I found this an interesting, serious depiction of space travelers. Yes, it's low-key but low key is good.

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