In 2015, work began on creating genetically modified human beings. A company named Glen Crest emerged at the forefront of this new and exciting venture, and they soon became the authority in DNA manipulation. In the following years, they reached a 97% success rate in their production of superior human beings.
These ‘GC’ humans were more intelligent, faster, stronger, more resistant to disease and also immune to the psychological stress of deep space travel. When a star-ship carrying precious cargo (which could potentially reverse the deadly threat of advanced global warming on Earth), experiences mysterious system failures, a team of GC humans is sent to investigate. However, what should have been Earth’s last hope, may just turn out to be its biggest threat yet.
Teleios aka Beyond the Trek is a small ensemble thriller, set for the most part upon a ‘ghost-ship’ in space. The crew of the Teleios board the abandoned human vessel to investigate what happened and most importantly to acquisition its precious cargo. They find logs that indicate that the crew had turned upon each other and ultimately killed themselves. The only survivors left on the ship are a service android and one remaining human. However, three years alone in space can do awful things to a delicate human mind and he is resistant to offer any explanation about what occurred. The Teleios crew are forced to take unpleasant steps to get the location of the cargo they so desperately want.
Ian Truitner is a multi-award winning writer/director, and with his latest release Beyond the Trek, he offers us a polished and well constructed science fiction thriller. This is the type of sci-fi TV I loved watching growing up, and still do, so I can appreciate the great potential this film has to offer. However, that is the very reason Teleios didn’t quite work for me. There is nothing inherently wrong with this movie, I do like it, but it just feels 15 years out of date. Everything about this movie screams TV series of the noughties, from its casting, low budget special effects, and typical sci-fi soundtrack to its exterior cut sequences and snazzy uniforms. The cast are good at what they do, and you can see familiar character tropes in each of them, however they just don’t have the screen time to develop into characters that build a fan base and make a film watchable again and again.
Truitner serves up a version of the future, which is worryingly believable. With its toe dipped in today’s emerging technologies, Teleios spirals off to a tomorrow of ‘what ifs’ and ‘maybes’. The visuals are crisp and clean, as are the ships and uniforms – could their pants be any tighter? But this movie never elevates itself higher than a decent tv movie with potential for a series. The concept and execution are just not grand enough to make it appeal to anyone outside the ardent sci-fi fan. Even then, there is much better on offer out there. The CGI looks dated, the actors are caked in make-up, plastic looking air-fix model tech, and the dialogue at times is questionable, however, these are all things that don’t really matter too much in the world of science fiction if handled correctly. If this was the feature-length pilot for a series, I would be very happy to tune in every week. The story itself is solid enough to have stretched over a full season with the right writing. But as a stand-alone sci-fi movie, this falls unfortunately flat compared to other big-screen sci-fi offerings. As viewers demand more ‘bang for their buck’, this type of low budget sci-fi, which was once the bread and butter of syndicated channels tea-time slots, is reduced to b-rate movie limbo.
Some clever thought-provoking ideas, executed well if this was the pilot for a sci-fi series, however, it never impresses enough as a stand-alone. There are some notable performances in Beyond the Trek from T.J. Hoban and Sunny Mabrey, who would slide perfectly into a sci-fi franchise, it’s just a huge shame that this isn’t it.