Marooned wants desperately to be a taut, gripping suspense story of astronauts marooned in space due to a machinery malfunction, but it somehow misses the boat. Certainly Marooned deserves points for its determination to keep the atmosphere as realistic as possible, going so far as to eliminate any distracting musical underscoring. Unfortunately, this merely serves to point up the film's fatal flaw: it lacks sufficient dramatic and emotional tension. Director John Sturges and screenwriter Mayo Simon have doggedly pursued a vision of concentrating on the reality of the situation, but have therefore missed the opportunity for affecting drama. Worse, the filmmakers sell out their principles with a climax and ending that come out of left field. There are moments that do make an impact, most notably Lee Grant's emotional good-bye to her husband Richard Crenna, but there are too few of these, and Marooned starts to drag early on, feeling unending in places. The cast does a fine job, especially Grant, Crenna and Gene Hackman, and the technical aspects are top notch: Daniel L. Fapp's cinematography is aces, and Lawrence W. Butler's special effects, if perhaps not up to modern standards, are excellent.
by Craig Butler review