‘2067’ review: A boring, time-traveling climate change film

In a classic scene from Mel Brooks’ 1987 comedy “Spaceballs,” President Skroob of Planet Spaceball frantically reaches into his desk drawer for a can of “Perri-Air” canned oxygen. The doofus has overseen the decline of the world’s air supply, so he keeps a six-pack of the stuff to chug in private.

It’s a hilarious gag that has been beefed up into an awfully self-serious science fiction movie called “2067.” It could really use Joan Rivers as a wise-cracking robot.

The earth of “2067” has also just about run out of air and, for the most part, out of humans. The only folks left are a community of Australians working way down under — beneath the planet’s surface — and subsisting on one corporation’s artificial oxygen that is beginning to sicken some who use it.

“The O2 rejection epidemic is going to wipe out the human race in a handful of years,” says a shady leader who’s also sort of a villain. For those of you who think this plot is a realistic cautionary tale for our messy century, wait till I get to the part where, a mere 47 years from now, we’ve invented time travel.

Yes, in Oz there is a temporal portal — straight outta “Stargate” — which has informed the earthlings that 400 years in the future, air has somehow returned to their hurting home. The test run also comes back with a mysterious message: “Send Ethan Whyte.” All right, then. Ethan (an appealing but shout-happy Kodi Smit-McPhee), the spindly son of a scientist, is suited up and whooshed into the 25th century to discover the secret to saving mankind.

The revelation he has is right up there with what’s inside Al Capone’s vault.

From there, the movie alters course from a finger-wagging climate change disaster flick to a confounding climate change disaster flick. On the 2467 Earth, Ethan discovers trees and refreshing breezes and, unfortunately, his own skeleton and a recording of his death. He figures he must’ve failed his mission and learns more about his fatal predicament when his friend (Ryan Kwanten) shows up. Can he change his fate? Who knows? Nothing is worse in time-travel movies than when the script tortures you into trying to understand its creaky logic.

Most of this film is humorless and with not so much of a score as a subwoofer. But one joke got me. Ethan carries a mobile device with a Siri-like assistant called Archie. In her crispy British accent, Archie walks him through making a fire using a stick and some kindling: “Rub rub rub. Easy peasy. Now blow. Blow, blow, blow, blow.” The final twist, while a touch twee, is also clever.

Another achievement from director and co-writer Seth Larney is that his film manages to look full-bodied regardless of its relatively small budget. But even if the aim is size and political relevance, it’s not a crime to let your hair down. “The Day After Tomorrow” is fun to watch; “2067” is not.

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