Story: The Biosphere 2 project took the world by storm, as a small group of scientists would try to live in a self sufficient collection of biomes, to gather valuable data on a more sustainable future. Of course, the project didn’t unfold quite as hoped or expected, but the story of Biosphere 2 is still an interesting one. In Spaceship Earth, we are shown the entire journey of the bold experiment, taking us back to the project’s conceptual birth to the eventual collapse of the official work, then the transition beyond the original stay inside the biomes. This is an in depth, exhaustive look inside the Biosphere 2 work and the lives of a wealth of the people involved in the far reaching, high concept project.
Entertainment Value: This is one I was excited to watch and while I hoped for some fresh footage from inside the Biosphere 2, Spaceship Earth delivered that and so much more. This documentary takes a deep dive into the entire project and traces it back to its tiniest spark of inspiration, which means learning about some interesting people involved in some offbeat activities. But then again, who else besides free thinkers and free spirits would envision a project like this? Once the Biosphere project is fully turned over to corporate interests, the tone shifts drastically, with such a stark contrast in approaches. Spaceship Earth is packed with nonstop tidbits of trivia and knowledge, offering a wealth of insight into the Biosphere and those involved. I never knew Steve Bannon had been brought into the project’s later stages, after the experiment ended, for example. The aftermath footage was the weakest part of the documentary to me, as it seemed rushed and to be honest, such a downer after an optimistic, if flawed path to that point. But it was neat to see what happened in the wake of the stay inside the dome, even if it doesn’t offer the tidy, pleasant conclusion some might look for.
I had a built in interest in the topic, so I am clearly biased, but I was fascinated with Spaceship Earth from the start and the time seemed to go by quite quickly. I loved getting the full scoop on the backstory of the project, which slowly weaves into the movie’s narrative as we meet a colorful band of intelligent, free thinking folks who form a collective of sorts. The group is called a cult in the documentary at one point and while perhaps not a traditional one, there are certainly cult like elements at work. The hippie days have a weird, kind of dark vibe and the film really had my attention on lock during those segments. Once the Biosphere project starts to develop, the documentary loses no steam and gives us the kind of in depth exploration the topic deserves. Even if you just have a casual interest in the topic, the movie is so well made, it will likely hold you rapt out of the gates. The pace is brisk and the information is densely packed in, but never rushed or difficult to put in context. In short, I simply can’t imagine a better look inside the Biosphere 2 than Spaceship Earth, so it earns a high recommendation.