2036: Origin Unknown | Movie Review

Another in the latest line of sci-fi movies added to Netflix

2036: Origin Unknown | Movie Review
Photo by Alenn Rebolledo on Unsplash

So, I may have spent one day just watching ridiculous sci-fi movies where world threatening disaster that couldn’t possibly happen, happen. From this fun day long venture I was brought to the latest sci-fi movie added to Netflix, 2036: Origin Unknown.

The trailer seemed interesting, dark enough to entice me (I have a weird obsession with dark plots). It gave me very similar vibes to the Netflix orignal "I Am Mother". Also, who doesn't love a movie about exploring Mars, especially when people talk about it being a potential place to inhabit in the future.


After a failed mission to Mars, A.I./ARTI is now used for the 2036 mission with a few human supervisors. A monolith of unknown origin is found there. It will have a big effect on Earth.

What did I think?

When I first saw the trailer on Netflix I was intrigued. It offered a sci-fi plot that I hadn’t seen before, or at least in a while. Then there was the idea of a movie that featured only two actors playing alongside an AI voice over. It’s always fairly cool seeing a small cast play off each other, it can also make for a more intense movie.

When it came to the movie itself, I have to say that I was fairly unimpressed. It started off fairly strong, with the AI robot coming across as weirdly helpful yet sinister playing perfectly alongside Katee Sackhoff. Their dynamic was pretty typical for a sci-fi movie, Katee's character was cynical towards AI robots and must learn to work with the sarcastic robot.

Then it kind of spiralled out of control; there was a lot going on that should've grabbed my attention - but it just seemed so rushed, and the movie isn't even particularly long. There is always an element of the impossible with sci-fi movies; but it just seemed too outrageous.

Favourite moments...

  • Sarcastic robot (AI): I think its now pretty much sci-fi law to have a wise-cracking robot available. This movie does well with the AI, which doesn't come across as too much of a cliche that other "hilarious" robots. It's journey is learning to understand how human beings work - and it does this at a much slower pace than most movies would push the character. Instead, there is the odd one-liner that draws a laugh.
  • Interesting premise: I mean, without an interesting plot showcased in the trailer I wouldn't have chosen to watch the movie. Like I said before, the premise was built up fairly well from the start, and then destabalised as the movie continued on, leading up to a very hectic ending.
  • Fairly good CGI: with sci-fi movies it is always pretty hit and miss with the CGI needed to tell the story well. With this movie, I didn't have any problems with believing what the CGI was showing. It did help that when it came to the pictures of Mars they leaned more towards grainy images on a small screen - pretty nice way to avoid intricate graphics for Mars.


Unfortunately, this might not be one that I'll watch again. It didn't seem to know what lesson it was trying to teach or what future for humanity it wanted to show. There were areas of the movie that I enjoyed; the sarcastic robot, and pretty ok CGI, all of which garnered my interest in the first half hour of the movie.

Its tight-rope walk of a good or a bad movie then came to an end as the introduction of the cube on Mars took place. From here the movie continued to spin out of control, adding in new layers that just didn't seem to make much sense to the rest of the movie.

scifi movie
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Joseph Harris
See all posts by Joseph Harris