The title of this disaster-cum-science fiction-cum family melodrama might seem somewhat ironic right now - since `Mir` in Russian means `peace` (more on this later) - but in the fact title references a fictional space station called `Mir. A` and an onboard artificial intelligence which has been dubbed `Mira` owing to it having a female voice.
We are in Vladivostok - a city on the far east coast of Russia - in the near future. In it a moody 15 year old girl, Lera, (Veronika Ustimova) lives only for her running. She is somewhat estranged from her parents. Her mother has divorced and married a well meaning paunchy lummox of a guy. She has a nine yeasr old brother, who she considers to be an irritant.Her `real` father is a cosmonaut who spends long periods in orbit on the space statrion Mir. A where he seems to spend a lot of time conversing with the onboard computer - Mira.
Creepily, though, the father has the technological means (via Mira) to access pretty much any electronic device down on earth so he can check up on the fruit of his loins whenever he likes - a fact which serves to wind up Lera even more.
We learn that Lera was badly burnt as a child after being trapped in a burning lift from which her father was unable to save her. She now has a phobia of fire - something she will soon have to confront.
Next - a cluster of metoerites is heading for Earth. These collide with the father's space station, disabling it and killing his colleagues and then rain down on Vladivostok creating Armageddon s
tyle mayhem. All of a sudden daddy's surveillance tech becomes invaluable: Can the new father-and- daughter team, in remote unison, find her lost brother - and prevent a nearby tanker from exploding and hence destrorying the city altogether? An can Lera face down her fear of fire in the process?
I was awed by the special effects which are among the best I have seen: plenty of masonry flying about, screaming and panicking people, explosions, car piles ups and rumbling sensuround noises and so on. (This should have come as no surprise as Russians had already proved they could do this six years back with Attraction -
to which this film, initially, bears quite a strong resemblance). it is quite heavy stuff for a 12+ `family movie` actually!
The Vladivostok location (a rarity in Russian films) was refreshing. Much of the science was silly (especially Mira - and her capabilities).
In Ustinova they have found a great new actress - but they failed to give the other characters personalities, so the family drama element was much less tearjerking than the film was aiming at. Nevertheless I did not become restless thoughout its 150 minutes - which is rare for me.
What will stay with me are the sequences where Vladivostiok is being reduced to rubble. It was impossible not to be put in mind of the horrors that people have been going through in certain Ukrainian cities owing to the Russian shelling of them. Indeed, a few Russians have viewed this film as a covertly anti-war one. This seems a bit of a stretch but...yeah...well...maybe. However, the production will have been underway long before the invasion began.