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“SPACESHIP EARTH” A Two Year Adventure



Review by John Delia

Not your ordinary Documentary, this film Spaceship Earth puts you on the front seat of a trek that will show how a biological dome came to be and how it was accepted by the people of the USA. Spaceship Earth’s story has its ups and downs, but not in the production of the film as it’s really a miracle that the filmmaker could get all the video that makes up years of planning, practice and construction. It is equally a story of the people who became part of the project as well as the project itself. Filled with surprises the documentary even includes some controversy. Now on HULU and Digital

Eight scientists were sealed in an eight story air tight terrarium in Oracle, Arizona, for two years. Called Biospherians the scientists, ecologists, dome workers took on an experiment in an environmental laboratory. Regarded as a prototype for colonies in space on another planet, the dome was equipped with everything imaginable where they grew their own food, acquired water, used solar electricity and more.

Biospherians  Bernd Zabel, Linda Leigh, Taber MacMullen, Abigail Alling, Mark Van Thillo, Sally Silverstone, Roy Walford, and Jane Poynter posing inside Biosphere 2 in a 1990. SPACESHIP EARTH from Neon

The experiment is about science and space travel, but it became a media and tourist attraction. With the team observable through special glass and cameras, they can be observed working under strict conditions as to their day to day duties. Except for the weightlessness, you could possibly liken this to the Space Station of today. And if you are a science fiction movie buff, may even think of it as a plot similar to Silent Running (1972, check Amazon Prime or Netflix) minus most of that film’s drama.

Biospherian Linda Leigh demonstrating to tourists in SPACESHIP EARTH from Neon

John Allen and director Matt Wolf take you back 25 years in San Francisco before the eight entry into the dome in 1991 with video, photos, news reports, and much more. Interviews by the now older participants while viewing their treasured home movies of their experiences, planning are astonishing. Nicely put together, especially their trip around the world on a homemade ship, the movie becomes more of a drama than anything else.

Inside the Biosphere in SPACESHIP EARTH from Neon

Surrounding the project were a few controversies that involved one of the subjects receiving special aid and some problems internally that were later figured out. Their biggest downside came with the media reports, some erroneous and others needles. In all however, it’s a very adventurous film and one that should be watched by the social network of those who believe that someday there will be a trip to Mars, future scientists, science fiction buff and historians. Spaceship Earth is not rated and contains no offensive material.

FINAL ANALYSIS: Interesting and imaginary, the film is worth the watch (3 out of 5 stars)

Additional Film Information:
Subjects: John Allen (Inventor, Innovator), Tony Burgess (Botanist), Freddy Dempster (Engineer), Kathelin Gray (Writer), Linda Leigh (Botany & Field Ecology), Mark Nelson (Ecology Systems), Sally Silverstone (Conservationist) and Marie Harding (Ecotechnics)
Directed by: Matt Wolf
Genre: Documentary, Adventure
MPAA Rating: Not Rated, contains no offensive material
Running Time: 1 hr. 53 min.
Opening Date: May 8. 2020
Distributed by: Neon
Released in: Hulu and Digital

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