Design Fiction in the Act: Prospect (2018)
Before the Mandalorian, Pedro Pasqual rocked a space suit in this Design Fiction filled universe.
Prospect is a character-driven film that explores themes of survival, trust, and redemption, all set against a visually stunning and immersive backdrop. The Design Fiction details in this film are present but subtle. There’s no overt exposition and it feels like the production designers intentionally left things obtuse to allow the story to take center stage and let the world act as a backdrop, allowing it to bleed off the screen into its own richly detailed universe.
Here’s a brief summary of the 2018 film from IMDB
A teenage girl and her father travel to a remote alien moon, aiming to strike it rich. They've secured a contract to harvest a large deposit of the elusive gems hidden in the depths of the moon's toxic forest. But there are others roving the wilderness and the job quickly devolves into a fight to survive. Forced to contend not only with the forest's other ruthless inhabitants, but with her own father's greed-addled judgment, the girl finds she must carve her own path to escape.
The following is Netflix’s trailer - it’s short, vague and doesn’t give away any major plot points.
It's worth mentioning that this film was actually preceded by a short with the same title. Prospect, the short film, served as a proof-of-concept that ultimately secured funding for the feature-length version. The video below includes the complete short film, along with a trailer for the feature at the end. Consider it a compelling mini-prequel.
On with the show
In the feature film Prospect, our initial encounter with Design Fiction comes in the form of music. The protagonist, Gee (portrayed by Sophie Thatcher from Yellowjackets), listens to an '80s Psych track, "Crying in the Storm," by Singaporean artist Rita Chao.
The film's soundtrack features a blend of Psychedelic and Garage music from Singapore and Cambodia, establishing an exotic and retro ambiance. This vibe is visually reinforced by the cinematography, which employs anamorphic lenses, and further bolsters the "Used Future" aesthetic that permeates the film.
Paid subscribers have access to a detailed analysis of the design fiction in this film, as well as a special downloadable artifact that doesn't appear on screen, but offers exclusive worldbuilding insight.