Film Corner: Infini


Alright, it's time for another shitty Amazon Prime movie for me to vent my "can't get out of bed" frustrations at. Get yon popcorn. Tonight's thing is a scifi called INFINI which was aggressively algorithmmed at me after I watched BEYOND THE TREK or whatever that last one was called. The one with the designer babies finding emotions in space.

23rd century. 95% of the world is at or below the poverty line. I assume we're gonna TOTAL RECALL this up rather than guillotine the 5%. "As a result, many take dangerous jobs in the interplanetary mining, military, and space exploration." Ah, in college I wrote a fun paper on asteroid mining. (It's basically not worth it yet, but they do sometimes have minerals that are tricky to get on earth.)

"Off-Earth transit is achieved via SLIPSTREAMING, the process of turning matter into a data signals and transmitting it to a fixed coordinate anywhere in the known universe." Surely this is the Star Trek Transporter Problem in that death no longer has meaning because you can always just print a backup copy of yourself from yesterday? I mean, I will not fault someone for dodging the same problems Star Trek dodges, just pointing it out.

I also have a lot of questions about how the transmission is (a) faster than light travel, (b) apparently instantaneous, and (c) not subject to data degradation, but I'm willing to set those aside. Hell, I have questions about how they know whether the coordinates are "right", since a rogue anything could've knocked something aside since the last time you went out to deep space, WHERE'S MY HARD SCIFI MOVIE ABOUT THAT. Presumably that's all taken care of by the massive poverty world-building: corporations COULD reconstitute the employee they just accidentally shot into a star, but it's cheaper not to.

"To this day, SLIPSTREAMING remains a highly controversial topic due to the high rate of fatalities and potential for data corruption." Grand. We slurp into the POV of some military folks waking up after slipstreaming. Medics are aggressively quizzing them about their names and history, and yelling "LOOK ME IN THE EYE" so not a good environment for your friendly neighborhood autistic like me. TITLE SCREEN. I dunno what all that was about. I guess we'll get there later.

A white guy looks down on generic scifi slumland and his wife lovingly pets him before his first day on the dangerous job. Very TOTAL RECALL, nice, ok. She's gone from pep talking him to crying and saying "don't go" so fast I have whiplash, but I've had those days.

We're hoo-ahhing. White Guy (Whit) joins some kind marines? Captain confronts a Dave (??) about "minutes missing from the slip logs" and "someone borrowed time they didn't have" while Whit watches. This is very tense, but I'm not really following it. Whit promised his pregnant wife he'll be home for dinner. Bets on whether he makes it?

Oh, there's a red alert. Space Marines jump to...somewhere and come back two seconds later covered in blood and screaming. What the fuck. Explosions. I'm utterly lost. An emergency lockdown begins. This seems to scare Whit and his new friends. They want to...dirty jump without permission? To get away from lockdown? OH. "Lockdown" means everyone in the building is murdered with, like, sarin gas. What a great place to work this is!

Ok, let's recap: Whit came to his new military-space job, and on the first day there there was an...on the job accident? and he had to jump into deep space to avoid being gassed by the evil corporation. This is your reminder that labor unions are necessary.

A white guy in a tie and a Bluetooth earpiece is yelling at technicians. I instinctively hate him. He's briefing some new marines, who were also the ones in the flashforward at the beginning. The ones being asked their names and ordered to give eye contact. TED Talk guy is giving us backstory to explain the last 12 minutes, I guess. Strap in. He straight up says half of what he's hearing is "bullshit" so we're spackling on plot armor pretty hard from the getgo.

"Infini" is the furthest outpost in our galaxy. It's very cold and lifeless. Ok, we interrupt this tense mission briefing for some kind of love triangle tension between one of the girl marines and two boys. This is the second movie in a row that had special forces fucking each other. Is that normal or a Hollywood thing?

ANYWAY, Infini is known for the "worst deep space mining disaster in history" when 1,600 people were killed because a mineral turned out to be "highly volatile". That feels like a lot of people to ship out to the ass end of space. If the contents of a payload of that mineral hits Earth's atmosphere, the entire planet is fucked. Lucky it's on the other side of space. Let's just not go there. After the disaster they sent 15 researchers to, I guess, write a report? One of them refused to come back and TED Talk Guy says he's probably gone Space Crazy.

@NorFluff. maybe they were one at a time, they kept sending in new troubleshooters who immediately exploded, finally someone in HR said 'wait we need to pay HOW MANY death benefits??' and they stopped.

Since they don't seem to HAVE death benefits, that would explain how the number got so high.

The movie kinda cheats by showing this guy being Space Crazy, which I don't really like because it seems like there went all the mystery but ok I guess. Villain Dude (they actually call him a villain, in case you were wondering the level of mental health awareness here) brought the mining operations on Infini back online and has prepped a deadly payload to be shipped to earth.

I'm honestly kinda confused how this can even be a threat; can't they just add Infini to the email blacklist and refuse any data streams from there? This isn't a physical payload being shipped in a boat, it's a teleport. But I guess we don't know how slipstreaming works; maybe there's no firewall. But oh my god, if there's no firewall think of the opportunities for chaos on earth, just from earth-to-earth teleporting. Like whoops is this your mansion we just slipstreamed a bomb into, Mr. 5%er, for one thing. How is slipstreaming not in the hands of vive la revolution? Idk, maybe you have to physically shovel money into the slipstream device, like they used to shovel coal into trains. Who knows, not me.

"Wait," TED Talk guy says, touching his Bluetooth. "We just lost the West Coast. The entire division." Why...why do we even HAVE the sarin gas lockdown button? Has that been a necessary thing BEFORE today? They jumped to extract the Villain and hit an "airborne threat" (that made them bleed from all orifices? I guess?) and the lockdown nuked everyone just to be sure.

Records show that Whit illegally jumped to Infini and...blew out the heaters (I guess) to deep freeze the facility and kill everyone (except him and his cozy safe space) and the marines are all very proud of him. Huh. He's been out there a week but left 30 seconds ago and that's space travel for you, bitches. They'll be gone for 1 minute and out there for 24 hours, because of "black hole singularity bullshit" and I can only assume this is all actually true because time is genuinely weird.

Their primary order is to stop the deadly payload and bring Whit home and I'm kinda surprised that the soulless corporation cares about Whit. They just callously gassed thousands of people! They have special gas masks because of the assumption that there's an airborne contagion on the other end.......but they wanna bring Whit home after he's been breathing the air out there for a week?

...It's space zombies, isn't it.

They teleported into a dark storage room. It's 70 below but I don't know what scale we're using. It's cold, ok. Lot of frozen bodies. Reavers looking more likely. We're establishing tension by having everything be dark and muffled, but it means I can't tell anyone apart and all their banter is sorta disconnected from everything else. It's a BIG team of people.

They restore the power (and heat?). The mess hall has...body parts hung up to dry. An ancient computer program in green DOS prompt starts up. This is the 23rd century, I remind you.

"Can you work the program?"
"Know any Latin?"
"No. Why would I?"
"Exactly. It's a dead language just like this one."

I...what? No? This isn't an OLD installation! Space tech isn't automatically OLD just because Aliens was a thing! The installation is relatively spanking new, why would the computers speak Ancient Green DOS Prompt? I don't...! Ok, whatever.

The computer asks "who are you?" and the captain starts typing back. He says they're here to rescue "W.C.". I guess he doesn't want to say "Whit" just in case it's an imposter. The answer got the heat turned back on, anyway. The marines are panicking and freaking out, like trained special forces do I guess. A shadowy figure steps forward and yep that's Whit from earlier. We met him before so it's not like there's any suspense about his identity. He says the miners were NOT killed in a blast and were instead "deformed and real strong and fucking insane" so yup Space Reavers.

...weird that the company sent a research team to study a blast that didn't happen. I'm confused about that. He says the contagion is not airborne, but rather blood/touch-based. Space Zombies. *jazz hands* I'm getting the distinct impression from the writing that there was a first draft where Whit was sent in as normal and didn't "dirty jump"; he doesn't seem to know about the quarantine lockdown despite being there. Whit blew the vents to, I guess, kill all the space reavers and he's pretty sure he got everyone so that's fine. I'm confident they're alone and in no danger whatsoever.

He does seem accurately traumatized so I like that.

Oh. His first job was coding. "This stuff, it's old, it runs off ASCII and basic binary." I-- In the 23rd century, coders fresh out of college and NEW SPACE MINING FACILITIES will both use and know basic binary coding. *sticks head between knees, breathes several times so as not to pass out* I wish they'd just said that the only code that can run at 70 degrees below zero is basic binary. "You can't have anything more sophisticated than ASCII with temperatures like this," I write in my screenplay, like an expert. "You want an graphical interface?" I laugh, laughingly. "Maybe in the fucking tropics, Garfield. Not out here in deep space cold."

"It's just maths and simple commands," Whit actually says. "It just took a little time to figure out how to run the entire station from here. I've had fucking plenty of that." They ask how to take the payload offline and Whit is hurt they didn't come just for him. Honey, did you miss the part where you're an expendable grunt in a dystopia? Numbers scroll on screen, Matrix-style, and Whit mumbles math to himself. He announces the payload is destined for the Pacific Ocean off San Francisco. The computer that communicates everything in NUMBERS to the user puts up a helpful green ASCII art rendition of the USA.

Whit can turn off the payload from here but he needs someone in another room to turn some dials. "I'll do it," says one of the marines. He'll be fine. There's....wind turbines outside. I would've thought the ridiculous cold would prevent that. In other news, the Nice Marine has a daughter. He's doomed. One of the love triangle boys (Morgan) is checking on the girl (Claire) and kinda...negging her? She says she can "do this on her own" and he's like "what can you do on your own??" and I kinda hate him? She's special ops, asshole, she can do lots of things on her own. She says a child needs support and he says he'd walk away from this job (so many other employment opportunities in this dystopia!) so I guess she's pregnant and he's Rossing at her.

White Mustache Boy tries to psych Whit out by aggressively asking whether he's infected. Whit tells him to fuck off. Everyone seems suddenly very dysfunctional. "It's nothing to worry about, just the furnaces hitting critical," Whit says when an alarm goes off. Someone points out that could be Bad, though. Whoops, a reaver just ran in and axed someone in the chest. They shot him and blood went everywhere. Now everyone is moaning.

Whit warns the Nice Marine to stay away, then runs for it. Everyone else is a reaver now. Whoops! Unnamed Love Triangle Guy 1 nearly kills Whit but he's killed by Love Triangle Guy 2 (Morgan) and Whit gets away. I....think Whit might be infected, I'm not sure. He found a medical bay with helpful notes left by a former and presumably now dead scientist. The mineral on Infini is..."primordial ooze". It infects people and seeks an "alpha", because Darwinism and evolution. I'm--

"Longer resistance observed in subjects who display advanced emotional disability." Oh good. Whit, our cis white boy, is the one with unusually high emotional stability. Cool, cool. A single human cell, if infected, will create a new human. Multiple infected human cells will fight each other until only the strongest one is left. SCIENCE. The entire planet is "a living organism" and I'm wondering if any scientists were involved in the making of this movie.

An infected marine busts in on Whit and Nice Marine and ends up infecting Nice Marine. They have to split up because of Alpha Maleness, OBVIOUSLY. Toxic Masculinity is EVOLUTION and if you don't believe that, maybe you need to read Peter Jordansen and his lobster sex theories, I GUESS. Think about that. Whit finds Mustache, who is leaving a goodbye message for his kids by radio, which will reach earth in roughly eleven billion years.

Whit wants Mustache to help him find a medic. Claire is the medic and he doesn't know where she is. Oh this isn't gonna be good, is it. [TW: Pregnancy Trauma] Well shit. Claire is green and has induced medical abortion because the virus was in the baby. Morgan attacks her over this and there's animal growling as the scene cuts away. Why would you even include something like that? Christ.

Whit shows up to find Claire mortally wounded and Morgan dead. Cool, cool. She says she's tried everything she can think of to cure the primordial ooze that infected hour ago? Tops???? Everything. She. Can. Think. Of. Whit says "tell me something you haven't tried, something crazy" and she says "death" and dies.

Apparently the rest of the movie is Whit and Mustache wrestling, alphaly. Whit, alone and distraught, composes a letter to the primordial ooze scolding it for valuing violence over cooperation. Now....the primordial ooze is...sad? SCIENCE.

Everyone is alive again and looking kinda defensive and confused. I guess the primordial ooze replicated them? I feel like that should bother me more, except that the slipstreaming premise already means these are "copies" of their original bodies, so. Nice of the ooze to replicate their clothes, at least some of which must be inorganic. It does not, notably, resurrect the 1600 miners it killed earlier. I guess ooze regret can only go so far. None of them remember being killed, so I guess that's nice and not horrifying.

As they're readying to teleport back, Whit sees copies of them--clear and composed of ooze--seeing them off from another level of the station. I'm...not sure what that means. General Trivia says the time dilation is wrong and that 24 hours of Earth time would be 1 minute of Infini time. Medics demand everyone's name as aggressively as possible, I suppose because they know about the rage virus? I don't know, lolsob. "Quarantine" is a quick 30 second scan and then they're instantly sent home. THE FUTURE.

Are they originals or copies? I don't know. But the pregnant wife whose name I don't remember is happy, so I guess that's all that matters. I think the moral is that Darwinism must be tempered with compassion and not an ugly struggle for dominance? I guess???


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