It’s such a shame that Cosmoball had its theatrical release during the pandemic, dooming it to financial failure. Because this movie is a hoot. If you are curious about the Russian ability to make a CGI Marvel-universe type blockbuster, watch this film. Right now you do not need to pay extra to watch it with your Amazon Prime membership.
The film has similarities to Guardians of the Galaxy: extensive CGI, good pace, unlikely hero, and even the original title (Вратарь Галактики = Goalkeeper of the Galaxy). I liked the film enough to watch it twice, but part of that was also because so much is going on that the story can be a little tough to follow.
In the story, an intergalactic war has taken place between bad guy Cherno and everyone else. Planet Earth suffers collateral damage when Cherno’s ship smashes into the moon, breaking it into fragments. Earth’s magnetic poles are reversed; Moscow becomes a tropical zone, the Arab desert becomes an ocean, and San Francisco experiences an ice age. People only have electricity one hour a day. The lab part of Cherno’s ship then falls deep inside the Earth, where it becomes his prison. And that part of the story is just the opening credits.
Cherno daily sends out a destructive ball of energy called a WaveEater from his lab prison. But the energy can be discharged with 5 hits by a special Athlete, turning the ball into a lump of rock. So good guy Belo turns the ball into a game called Cosmoball, played in a living plant-like alien spaceship/stadium, shaped like a Dandelion, that hovers above Moscow.
The games are broadcast in the sky around the world. For 20 years, the diversion of the games has helped everyone cope with their long-suffering lives.
The game is a mix of soccer and rugby, played by intergalactic teams of 4 who can teleport, except that Earth’s team has only 3 players. The fourth player is yet to be found. This is where Anton (Yevgeny Romantsov) comes in.
Anton’s whole life has been plagued by bad luck and a sick mother. Unbeknownst to him, Cherno’s daughter has been the source of his bad luck. Like an evil fairy godmother, she has tried to scare him so that the teleportation ability in his protogene will be activated. (Okay, not everything in this film makes sense…)
But when Anton teleports, Belo (Yevgeny Mironov, who bears a strong resemblance to Chevy Chase) recruits him as the 4th member of Earth’s team. Anton hates Cosmoball but agrees to play if Belo will cure Anton’s mother of her intergalactic infection.
Anton: Wait. Let me get this straight. We’re about to go play football with essentially a nuclear bomb instead of a ball. Created by an angry alien who can’t be killed and who wants to take over the universe. And everyone else thinks this is just a game. Is that right?
Belo: Pretty much it, yes.
However, Cherno’s daughter delivers Anton’s DNA and the missing protogene to her father. This allows Cherno to escape his prison in a gigantic puppy-like spaceship. Huge battle ensues. When the war is won by the good guys, Cosmoball is over, the moon is repaired, and everyone is told to go back to work. Doesn’t leave much room for the sequel.
The real reason to watch this film is for the entrancing CGI. The film is generally family-friendly, and except for a few skewerings and drillings, violence is often portrayed as colorful fireworks.
There are a few sexist moments. During a game, Athlete Natasha (Viktoriya Agalakova) is blown out of her uniform and just in her underwear. Anton is too innocent to touch a female, but he ogles the boobs on an Amazon giantess. The only black character and Athlete is stereotypically named Pelé.
According to Wikipedia, the movie was a 5 year project. Filming was completed in 2017, and then it took 3 years to complete the extensive amount of CGI. Such development would be comparable to an early Pixar film. This production demonstrates that the Russians have the technology to create any virtual video that Putin could wish.
The only non-Russian names in the credits are for 2 screenwriters and Georgetown University alums, Drew Row (aka Drew Rau) and Twister Murchison. I wondered how much of the story they contributed, or if they only wrote the English translations. I also could not find the names of the actors who dubbed the English language.
I wondered why some words were used. The title Cosmoball leverages the Russian word for astronaut, and the little droids are called Sputniks after the Russian satellite. It makes me wonder if words like these are used to show Russian pride and if they are required by some film overlord. 🙂
8 Soccer Movie Mom Rating = 8
- Released: 2020-08-27 (Russia)
- Russian title is Вратарь Галактики or Vratar Galaktiki , literally Goalkeeper of the Galaxy
- In Russian or in dubbed English with English sub-titles
- 1 hour 58 minutes
- I watched this on Amazon Prime
- Director: Dzhanik Fayziev (Джаник Хабибуллаевич Файзиев)
- Stars: Yevgeny Romantsov (Anton) , Yevgeny Mironov (Belo) , Viktoriya Agalakova (Natasha)
- note that Yevgeny is also spelled Evgeniy
- Watch the Trailer in Russian or in English – they are quite different
- CTB website , Facebook page , USA distributor website