Beyond White Space is predominantly set aboard a deep-space fishing vessel. Fish in space? Yes… because the film has one hell of a premise: it’s about a crew of intergalactic whalers who’ve made a career of hunting down space dragons and killing them. The film presents a world where leviathan alien beings swim through the outer regions of the cosmos, and humanity has, as we tend to do, started harvesting them for natural resources.
The plot really kicks into gear after their ship encounters one dragon that is unusually gargantuan in size. One character poses the idea that it’s a being of Chinese legend: a dragon who guards the entranceway to Heaven. Instead of letting the film pursue this interestingly theological idea, however, ship’s captain Richard Bentley (Holly McCallany) steps in with the adamant belief that it’s the same dragon that killed his father many years ago. That’s right; this time, it’s personal - so personal in fact, that both he and his brother Owen (also a member of crew) decide to continue their mission, pursuing the beast into the depths of space, even after a group of scavengers rob them of all their supplies.
If this is starting to sound a bit like Moby Dick, that’s because that’s exactly what it is: Moby Dick in space. Sadly, whereas Moby Dick is a critical tale of obsession and revenge, Beyond White Space never makes it particularly clear if we’re supposed to be rooting for Captain Bentley or not. As the protagonist, you’d expect the film to want you to like him, and you’re seemingly supposed to be on his side when he essentially sentences his crew to death by taking them on a suicide mission in order to harass a wild animal.
Beyond its core concepts, Beyond White Space sadly has little to offer. The dialogue and acting could be worse but they certainly don’t help things. One area where it does excel, however, is its special effects work. For a film of this scale and budget, the CGI is all fairly impressive, although the film really struggles to convey a sense of scale when showing us its space dragons. Scenes where they interact with humans in space suits somehow look less like a giant being interacting with a person and more like someone playing with an action figure.
When Beyond White Space presents new and innovate ideas, it works. Sadly, more often than not, the film seems content to just do a bad job of ripping off Alien.
BEYOND WHITE SPACE / CERT: UNRATED / DIRECTOR: KEN LOCSMANDI / SCREENPLAY: RYAN COLUCCI, CLAY MACLEOD CHAPMAN / STARRING: HOLT MCCALLANY, ZULAY HENAO, DAVE SHERIDAN / RELEASE DATE: 15TH JANUARY