Sunday, January 13, 2019


Not much to say about this one - it's been on a shelf for a while, it got released in a spot where studios generally drop things that are too expensive to not try and recoup via theatrical play but which will get crushed by actual good movies, and it doesn't particularly look promising. Finding that it is not in fact very good is hardly surprising.

I'd hoped otherwise, though, because I like stars Keanu Reeves and Alice Eve, and maybe this was just a case of critics and studios not knowing what to do with science fiction that wasn't built as an action movie. No such luck, it's just bad and boring.

Oh, and Boston Common is now doing reserved seating for all theaters, not just the Imax one. I'm kind of neutral on that as an idea, but I've kind of liked that place being the last accidental hold-out of old-school moviegoing among the chains, and now they're apparently even letting you order food ahead. I don't see them ripping the seats out for recliners any time soon, but who knows?


* ¼ (out of four)
Seen 12 January 2018 in AMC Boston Common #1 (first-run, DCP)

As much as we've all come to see Keanu Reeves not so much as a bad actor as a guy who can do quite well when he's playing something within a certain range, "ethically-conflicted scientist" is pretty damn far outside that comfort zone. It is, unfortunately, more or less the entirety of this movie, and makes Replicas a pretty tough slog. It's got about five times more in the way of interesting sci-fi ideas than it does actual story, and never finds a good way to close the gap.

Reeves plays Will Foster, an engineer working on transferring the contents of a human brain into a robot body at the Puerto Rico laboratory of Bionyne Industries. It's not going well; the latest soldier who had signed a release started ripping his new shell apart as soon as awakening, and the boss (John Ortiz) says funding will be cut if they don't see results soon. A weekend away with his family - wife Mona (Alice Eve), son Matt (Emjay Anthony), and daughters Sophie (Emily Alyn Lind) and Zoe (Aria Lyric Leabu) seems like it might be just thing, but a car accident leaves only Will alive. His co-worker and best friend Ed (Thomas Middleditch) has done advanced work on cloning, so if Will can figure out the transfer in the 17 days it takes to grow them to their previous ages, it might be like they'd never gone. The trouble is, Ed can only get hold of three cloning pods, and that's a lot to hide for two and a half weeks.

There are a lot of ideas that make for good science fiction here, and though the script by Chad St. John (from a story by producer Stephen Hamel) can sometimes handwave these challenges away, the decision to portray all of these issues as interconnected and happening at the same time, rather than isolated innovations and thus ethical conundrums, is a good one in theory. Practically, though, it often leaves little room for anything to be examined in much detail, and there are moments when the filmmakers don't seem to have figured the details of their near-future world out; some things are presented as very difficult while things such as editing memories is referenced very casually. Lots of things get brought up, but fewer lead to situations that put Will on the spot.

Full review at EFC.

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