The Silent Sea recounts the journey of a small Korean crew to a devastated lunar station after a mysterious accident five years earlier. Their mission is to find samples of the experiments carried out by the previous team, of which no survivors remain.
While there are many questions before departure, particularly for Doctor of Astronomy and Biology Song (Doona Bae), she resolves, at the request of her hierarchy, to agree to go to the Moon. Meanwhile, on Earth, water is sorely lacking, and the world’s population is under severe rationing. It may well be that the mission of the small crew is more important, but also more perilous than expected.
For once, Bae Doona is not the one who bursts the screen the most
Roughly, The Silent Sea is the child ofAlien and an episode of Doctor Who appointed The Waters of Mars. The series recovers all the tropes of the genre, from the mysterious experiment commissioned by bureaucrats with unknown designs, to the disappearance of the crew members kidnapped one by one by an unknown force. Obviously, all of the main characters have hidden affects and interests that will prove to be key plot points, sometimes in a crass way, but backed up by a quality cast.
While the first part is a tedious investigation (reminiscent of the Playstation games where the goal is to open doors with keys to access other doors, to be opened with other keys) on the mission carried out five years earlier and the disastrous fate of the team previous, the second part of the series gets carried away a little more by offering a slightly more personalized copy. It is also and especially in this second part that the scenario manages to surprise sometimes, by playing in an elegant way on the nerves of the spectator, not sure to know if he has put a foot in the fantastic or not.
Gong Yoo as an inflexible and self-sacrificing man, not very original, but effective
Extraterrestrial, but not extraordinary
From the point of view of his script, The Silent Sea is very predictable for a good part of the series, which improves markedly over the episodes. If the first 3 to 4 episodes are long, it is above all because the viewer understands too well what is emerging on the screen.
Moments on Earth (by the way portrayed with a hideous yellow filter) only serve to give the characters tragic stories justifying their die-hardships on a mission that promises to be suicidal., or to talk to us over and over again about water scarcity. The appearance of the trigger is not a revelation, but on the contrary makes you sigh with relief. Smile, the exploration of the many storage bases is over, and the plot finally launches.
On the contrary, the second half of the series manages to stand out by using advantageously the stories (very stereotypical) of the characters, and to give a real taste of classic science fiction, but relatively effective. In addition, we can explain the problem of rhythm of the first half of the series by the fact that the latter is an adaptation of a short film by Choi Hang-yong.
Do you feel the weightlessness there? No leaps, no flights, nothing
The casting is the strong point of the program, since the known Korean heads that it mobilizes give themselves without counting to give depth to a relatively common story (and which will not hold up the comparison in the face of a Lost in Space). Gong Yoo, Heo Sung-tae, and Kang Mal-geum all appeared in Squid Game, while Bae Doo-na has already been known to the Western public for a long time thanks to her collaboration with the Wachowski sisters or her roles in The Host Where Sympathy for Mister Vengeance (films by Korean directors who managed to export during the expansion of the genre in the early 2000s).
If all these actors make the stakes of the story coherent and credible, Kim Sun-young in her role as the crew’s doctor is undeniably the nugget of The Silent Sea. She manages to keep her cool in the image of the professional doctor that she is, while being able to act the upheaval when the situation calls for it. The young Kim Si-a manages to deliver a poignant and very effective interpretation. in such an ambiguous role at just 13 years old.
The yellow filter on the dried up Earth gives a feeling of Narcos Mexico
IN THE STARS
This effective casting wears various combinations of cosmonauts throughout the series, for their part rather classic. This adjective, classic, is probably the most suitable to qualify the entire artistic direction of the program. The music is low-key until the end of the series which manages to deliver a few memorable themes, and the spacebase interior looks like any other spacebase, with a few exceptions, impossible to name without revealing details. of the plot.
However, we regret a rather weak use of the base material, namely space. Visible at the beginning, at the end, and in a few passages, it seems that for technical reasons, the peculiarities of this environment are relatively little used in the story, sometimes making it cheap “by omission”. If nothing has been done, it is probably because the production has not given the means.
“But wouldn’t that be the traces of an eighth passenger?”
On the contrary, the series deserves to be singled out for its difficulty in serving this basic material. While some wide shots of the Moon are good, it is a lot of fun that the low gravity effect could not be reproduced. The result is a cast forced to make very wide movements to simulate low gravity, which will not fool the viewer’s eye. Likewise, it is astonishing to see muscular soldiers suffer when it is necessary to carry a teammate insofar as the latter, with all his astronaut equipment, should not weigh more than thirty kilograms.
On the other hand, we will appreciate a correct staging, as well as some moments which produce elegant effects by playing on the dark space and the lighting of the suits and the space base. Visual effects, on the other hand, are little used (and again, citing the best is only possible by spoiling key points from the series), with much of the plot being nervous behind closed doors. The best is definitely when the show takes off to tell the bizarre, or the weird, which it unfortunately doesn’t do enough.
Season 1 of The Silent Sea is available on Netflix since December 24, 2021