|Music by||Daniel L.K. Caldwell|
|Edited by||Paul Frank|
|Distributed by||DUST (under Gunpowder & Sky)|
|Budget||Less than $4 million|
Prospect is a 2018 American science fiction film starring Pedro Pascal, Sophie Thatcher, and Jay Duplass. The film, written and directed by Zeek Earl and Chris Caldwell, features a teenage girl and her father traveling to an alien moon with a contract to mine gems in the moon's poisonous forest. On the moon, the father is driven by greed, and the two encounter dangerous strangers in the forest.
The film premiered on March 5, 2018 at the South by Southwest Film Festival. The company Gunpowder & Sky, under their science fiction-oriented label Dust, released the film in Regal Cinemas theaters on November 2, 2018, and on video-on-demand and home media on March 8, 2019.
The teenage girl Cee and her father Damon descend in a landing pod from their spaceship to the surface of a forest moon covered in poisonous spores to mine for gems. They suffer a technical malfunction during the descent which cripples the lander and the pair touch down some distance away from their planned prospecting site. The duo begins traveling to the site by foot and comes across an abandoned dig site. Damon and Cee extract a fleshy pod from the earth and carefully dissect it to reveal a valuable gem. Cee implores her father to take this gem and return to the lander, but Damon insists they continue to the original landing site.
The pair set out again, and Damon is approached by two rival prospectors: Ezra and his silent companion. Ezra and his partner plan to rob Damon and hold him at gunpoint, but he suggests instead that they join forces. Damon explains that he has been contacted to assist a group of mercenaries who stumbled upon the legendary 'queen's lair', a dig site of extraordinary value. Damon suggests that rather than digging for the mercenaries, Ezra, his companion, and Damon can join forces and take the entire dig for themselves.
Ezra agrees, but Cee, who has been hiding throughout this encounter, ambushes the two hostile prospectors with a rifle - allowing Damon to wrest a weapon from Ezra before talking the latter and his partner hostage. Damon attempts to rob Ezra, but his partner goes to attack him and the pair shoot each other; Ezra's partner is killed and Damon is mortally wounded before he is then executed by Ezra himself.
Cee flees back to her damaged lander, which fails to start and is found by Ezra moments later. When Ezra attempts to enter, Cee wounds him in the arm with her rifle and takes him prisoner. Ezra suggests that they follow Damon's original plan and aid the mercenaries in exchange for passage on the mercenaries' ship. Cee reluctantly agrees, and the pair sets out for the queen's lair. Ezra's wound has become infected by the poisonous spores in the atmosphere, and so the pair approaches a group of human villagers with the intent to trade for medical treatment. The villagers instead offer a trade of gems in exchange for Cee. As Ezra asks about details of the offer, Cee flees the village and escapes pursuit by the villagers.
After wandering the planet alone, Cee runs into Ezra once again. His wound has worsened considerably, and Cee helps him amputate his arm. The pair set out once more and soon arrives at the mercenary camp surrounding the queen's lair. After negotiating passage on the mercenaries' ship, Cee and Ezra attempt to fulfill their end of the contract and extract gems from the queen's lair. They fail several extraction attempts, and as their mercenary guard turns to report their failure, Ezra attacks and kills him. The commotion attracts the rest of the mercenaries, and a fight ensues. Several mercenaries are killed, and Ezra is gravely wounded. Cee tends to Ezra's wound, and the pair escape into orbit on the mercenaries' ship.
Zeek Earl and Chris Caldwell, who directed Prospect, met at the Seattle Pacific University. They formed the production company Shep Films and initially made commercials before making short films. After several short films, they made the feature-length film Prospect.
Prospect premiered on March 5, 2018 at the 2018 South by Southwest Film Festival, where it won the Adam Yauch Hörnblowér Award. The company Gunpowder and Sky, under their label Dust, released the film in Regal Cinemas theaters on November 2, 2018. The film was released on video-on-demand and home media on March 8, 2019.
The review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes assessed 48 reviews; it reported 43 as positive and 6 as negative, for an overall rating of 88%. The website's critical consensus reads, "Fueled by character development and setting instead of special effects, Prospect is a sci-fi story whose style is defined—and enriched—by its limitations." The similar website Metacritic assessed 8 reviews and reported 6 as positive and 2 as mixed. With an overall score of 68 out of 100, it said the film had "generally favorable reviews".
Peter Debruge of Variety wrote, "Constructing character does not appear to be Earl and Caldwell’s strong suit (what’s satisfying about Cee owes almost entirely to Thatcher, a fresh face who tricks us into assuming she’s just a callow teen, when in fact, she proves to be the film’s toughest character). On the other hand, the duo show a real aptitude for world building."
- "A Lo-Fi, DIY Sci-Fi Film That's Better Than Its Big-Budget Brethren". Wired. November 1, 2018. Retrieved January 25, 2021.
- Staff (2014). "25 New Faces of Independent Film: Zeek Earl + Chris Caldwell". Filmmaker. Retrieved September 18, 2018. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
- Uitti, Jake (May 24, 2018). "A Talk with the Directors of Prospect, a Groundbreaking Sci-Fi Movie That Was Filmed in Seattle and Screens at SIFF Tonight". The Stranger. Retrieved September 18, 2018. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
- McNary, Dave (September 17, 2018). "Pedro Pascal's 'Prospect' to Launch in Theaters From Sci-Fi Dust Label (Exclusive)". Variety. Retrieved September 21, 2018.
- Chen, David (March 7, 2019). "How to Design a Good Sci-Fi Space Helmet: An Interview With the Filmmakers of 'Prospect'". SlashFilm. Retrieved March 8, 2019.
- "Prospect (2018)". rottentomatoes.com. Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved July 28, 2020. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
- "Prospect Reviews". metacritic.com. Metacritic. Retrieved July 28, 2020. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
- Debruge, Peter (11 March 2018). "SXSW Film Review: 'Prospect'". Variety.