Captain Nova (2021) poster

Captain Nova (2021)


Netherlands. 2021.


Director – Maurice Trouwborst, Screenplay – Lotte Tabbers & Maurice Trouwborst, Producers – Koji Nelissen & Derk-Jan Warrink, Photography – Robbie Van Brussel, Music – Alexander Reumers, Visual Effects Supervisors – Luuk Meijer & David Van Heeswijk, Animatronics – Vincent Mensink, Production Design – Barbara Westra. Production Company – Keplerfilm/VPRO/Netherlands Film Fund/Netherlands Film Production Incentive/Cobo.


Kika Van De Vijver (Nova), Marouane Meftah (Nasrdin ‘Nas’ El Dawey), Hannah Van Lunteren (Claire Luchtmeijer), Anniek Pheifer (Captain Nova Kester), Ergun Simsek (Atlan), Ricky Koole (Marian), Sander Van De Pravert (Voice of ADD), Robbert Bleij (Simon Valk Junior), Joep Vermoelen (Koen), Pierre Bokma (Simon Valk Senior), Harry Van Rijthoven (Simon Valk Junior – 2050), Renout Bussemaker (General), Faris Dahman (Max – 2050), Yahya Gaier (Nas – 2050)


In the year 2050, the world has been devastated by environmental disaster. The pilot Captain Nova Kester is chosen to fly a ship through a wormhole back to the year 2025 to try and save the future. Her ship crashes in a rural area. There Nova is found by young Nasrdin El Dawey who takes her away to safety. However, the time travel process has caused Nova’s body to revert back to that of her twelve-year-old self during this era. Government forces headed by Claire Luchtmeijer soon arrive at the scene but puzzle over finding the fingerprints of both the same grown person and their younger self all over the ship. They locate the present-day Nova who insists she was home all night. With a wide area search out for them, Nova and Nas try to get to industrialist Simon Valk Junior and get him to stop a drilling project at the North Pole, which will release methane gases that will environmentally devastate the planet. However, Nova being in her twelve year-old body presents problems in her being taken seriously.

Captain Nova is a modest and quite smart Time Travel film from the Netherlands. I have seen it pegged as being a children’s film, although other than featuring two adolescents as the principal characters there is nothing about it that necessarily seems child-focused.

The film has a reasonable degree of similarity to the US-made The Adam Project (2022), which came out three months after this did. Both films have a plot where a pilot travels back in time to save the future and has to deal with a younger companion. The main differences is that The Adam Project paired astronaut Ryan Reynolds up with his younger self, while this has a piece of plotting sleight of hand where the older character in incarnated as the age her younger self was around this time. That and The Adam Project has much more of a comedy emphasis.

There is the standard Returned to Save the Future plot familiar from The Terminator (1984) and a host of copies. That is combined with quite a strong Environmentalism theme where they are now trying to save an environmentally devastated future. There is also the addition of the two children on the run and a group of pursuing military as per E.T. – The Extra-Terrestrial (1982), although the security forces here are much more benevolent than they usually are in US films, particularly lead security agent Hannah Van Lunteren who eventually ends up aiding the two kids.

The twelve year-old Nova (Kika Van De Vijver) and Nas (Marouane Meftah) in Captain Nova (2021)
(l to r) The twelve year-old Nova (Kika Van De Vijver) with the robot ADD on her shoulder and Nas (Marouane Meftah)

You do end up nipicking some of the boneheaded tactics of the military at various points – like their arriving at a scene and failing to secure a perimeter, allowing Marouane Meftah to simply walk out when their backs are turned, or escorting Meftah onto a secure military base without frisking him to find that he happens to be carrying a weapon the size of a machine pistol in his coat pocket.

That said, the running around and time travel convolutions are conducted with a certain adeptness. There’s a cute robot accompanying the heroine, although the niftiest touch is her wielding a gun that freezes people in super-slow motion for a few hours giving them time to contemplate life.

Captain Nova was a feature-length debut for Dutch director Maurice Trouwborst who had previously directed/written the SF tv series Zenith (2017- ).

Trailer here

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