Set in the 22nd century, Icarus XB1, takes place in a world which has been united under one government. A giant spaceship is sent into outer space with the intention of exploring the far reaches of the universe. Full of colonists, the group hopes to find a suitable planet for life somewhere around Alpha Centauri. Unexpected problems happen along their journey ranging from encounters with unknown spacecrafts to malfunctioning computer systems but as they discover, their greatest conflict lies in the fragility of man. Jindrich Polak's Icarus XB1 is a intelligent, slow-paced science fiction film that is far ahead of its time. Like all good science fiction films, Icarus XB1 works because it uses this fantastical world to explore universal themes about humanity. These colonists are on a seemingly endless journey and the film handles time dilation in a realistic way, showing how the various colonists cope psychologically with the long journey, while understanding that they will age much slower than their loved ones back on earth. More Solaris than Alien, the film spends most of its time with the crew, exploring their relationships and minds. It does a great job at capturing the wear-and-tear this ambitious inter-galactic voyage has on their psyche, showing the fragility of human lives. The set design is lavish and detailed, with some of the designs being quite practical and inventive in a way that is quite remarkable given its release date. For that matter, It wouldn't surprise me if Kubrick drew some inspiration from this film when designing the look and feel of 2001: A Space Odyssey. Icarus XB1 is not a fast-paced film and while I did think it lagged a little too much in the middle, it's a cerebral look at the fragility of humanity set against the grandiose scale of Space.
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