“These are grownup issues,” the big, bad Big Energy dude tells the 12 year-old Dutch girl. He mutters something about her “arrogance” and childish, limited world of the world.
But this lying Dutchman doesn’t know Nova (Kika van de Vijver) is from the future. He doesn’t know she’s come here to stop the future this Dutch Koch Brother’s shortsighted greed will cause. He has no idea that she’s armed, and that while robots of the future are every bit as adorable as kids’ movies have made them out to be, this kid is packing and might be tempted to pop an electrical cap in his ass.
“Captain Nova” may be slow and lack much in the way of urgency as a pilot (Anniek Pheifer) comes back from the future to keep us from terminating ourselves. But there’s something absolutely adorable about a Greta Thunberg showing us as an avenging angel out to break the political gridlock the uber-rich have paid for to ensure our doom.
Greta’s irked a good portion of the time. Righteous as she is, you get the feeling keeping her away from weapons is a solid choice, for environmental malefactors if not for the planet.
The reason she comes to mind while watching “Nova” is that this Captain comes in from the “Blade Runner” burnt-out future, gets in her shuttle with a shoulder-riding robot named — aptly, ADD — heads to the past to head off this environmental apocalypse. But when she’s pulled from the chrono-shuttle she’s all of 12 years old.
Conveniently, in this dullish but kid-friendly tale directed and co-written by Dutch TV writer and director Maurice Trouwborst, has de-aged Captain Nova “rescued” by ATV riding latchkey teen Nas (Marouane Meftah), who finds himself ordered around by a pretty young blonde, thus giving him a life lesson he will never outgrow.
They go on the lam, with only ADD (ahem) to help them, aside from assorted adults who can’t believe kids would steal a BMW X-1 and flee the Dutch department of defense investigator (Hannah van Lunteren) and her nerdy science aide (Joep Vermolen) who are trying to figure out how a kid’s fingerprints ended up in this UFO that crashed in the forest.
That kid is the 12 year-old Nova in her proper timeline. And one thing that can never happen, as we know from the “temporal paradox,” is Nova meeting Nova.
Here’s the cute kiddy stuff here. The robot has bits of “Short Circuit” and “Flight of the Navigator” and every childish “electronic sidekick” ever. He hovers or hangs over her shoulder, lecturing Nova on eating the green produce offered by present day Earth folk with “Eat eat eat, VITAMINS,” in Dutch, or in English with subtitles.
And that gun that the suddenly 12-again Nova totes? It’s not generally lethal. She shoots somebody and they go into time out.
“He’s been put on pause for a few hours. Gives him some time to think about his career, his life...”
There’s more promise in “Captain Nova” than payoff. A short running time and uncluttered throughline only leads to stupid shortcuts — a military prisoner that hasn’t been frisked for weapons — tepid getaways from the pursuers and more places for the chirpy robot to not be funny.
The hellscape future is quite convincing, and the plot has merit. It’s the sluggish execution that demotes “Captain Nova” back to corporal.
Rating: TV-14, violence, mild profanity
Cast: Anniek Pheifer, Kika van de Vijver, Marouane Meftah, Hannah van Lunteren, Joep Vermolen
Robbert Bleij and J.V. Martin.
Credits: Directed by Maurice Trouwborst, scripted by Lotte Tabbers and
Maurice Trouwborst. A Netflix release.
Running time: 1:26