If films have taught us anything, it’s not to mess around with the creation of life
Kate Mara takes on the lead role in Morgan, a science fiction film from debut from director Luke Scott.The idea of creating artificial life has always been a taboo subject and carried with it many moral dilemmas. So you can imagine the immense pressures felt by the scientists who managed to successfully create a humanoid being using synthetic DNA in the latest film to explore this grey area. Having dedicated 7 years to their work, suffered 2 failed attempts, a team of scientists, doctors and behavioural experts finally successfully played the role of God and brought about the creation of life within their laboratories. However, their work it turns out has been under the watchful eye of a large corporation and they’re about to undergo some serious scrutiny at the hands of Lee Weathers (Kate Mara) as risk assessment consultant sent in to evaluate the recent, questionable behaviours of the hybrid biological organism. Heading up the facility where this scientific breakthrough took place is Dr. Simon Ziegler (Toby Jones) and Dr. Lui Cheng (Michelle Yeoh).Dr. Ziegler is extremely proud of his creation, and rightly so, leaping to the defence of Morgan (Anya Taylor-Joy) – the artificially created young girl – when Lee steps into the picture to establish the next appropriate course of action. Dr. Cheng on the other hand remains emotionally distanced from Morgan and understands that certain measures must be followed in accordance with corporation orders. It’s those that spend time with Morgan that have grown to love and care for her; Dr. Amy Menser (Rose Leslie), the behavioural expert, has a bond with Morgan and sees her as a person rather than the man-made creation that she is; likewise Doctors Darren and Brenda Finch (Chris Sullivan and Vinette Robinson) see their roles as mother and father to Morgan. It’s not long after Dr. Alan Shapiro (Paul Giamatti) conducts a psych evaluation on Morgan that things start to take a turn for the worse and it’s left to Lee to carry out the orders of the corporation.
Morgan is the first feature length film from director Luke Scott and was written by Seth W. Owen. It’s evident to see influences from previous films tackling this type of subject matter, the main and most recent one that leaps to mind is Ex-Machina (written and directed by Alex Garland), but it's also combined with elements of various other sci-fi films. That’s not to say taking influence from others is a bad thing, at all. But for me, the issue with Morgan is that it never really came into its own, instead it just skimmed the surface of any potential to offer something new.
There are a few instances where Morgan’s abilities are alluded to but the audience is never privy to knowing the full extent of what she can do. Similarly there appeared to be some kind of background which Dr. Cheng and Lee briefly discussed that was never really fully explained – it was fairly easy to fill in the blanks but it just felt a little half hearted, in much the same way as there really wasn’t very much character development. Visually the film was nicely photographed, as you'd expect from the son of Ridley Scott, with several key shots indicating an ending which could have been a bit subtler but nevertheless it was enjoyable to watch.
Predictability and a lack of originality means that Morgan will be quickly forgotten
In her first film since her big screen debut in The Witch Anya Taylor-Joy takes on the role of Morgan, the artificially created humanoid being trying to find her place within her confined enclosed home. Taylor-Joy is pretty convincing as Morgan, made up to look almost synthetic in texture and grey in colour with her huge eyes desperately trying to convey the appropriate emotion. Mirroring Morgan is Mara's Lee Weathers, sent in to see the bigger picture and refusing to allow emotion to get the better of her. Lee must remain distanced from the scientists and especially from Morgan. Mara is good in the role – devoid of emotion and straight faced at all times. Mara holds her own in this role and proves that she can be just as bad ass as any male counterpart in a sci-fi flick. In slightly smaller roles compared to rest of the cast is Michael Yare as Ted Brenner and Boyd Holbrook as Skip Vronsky both of whom are at the science compound helping out the actual scientists and Brian Cox has a small part as the voice of the Cooperation ensuring Lee follows out her orders.
Morgan for me was extremely predictable pretty much within first 10 minutes or so which combined with the feeling that the films full potential was never really fully realised is the reason I have given it a 6. With that in mind, it was a fairly enjoyable watch with a couple of decent action and fight sequences thrown in to keep it from being completely dull. It could have been so much more but for what it is, it’s probably one to watch at home rather than at the cinema.
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