The 6th Day Review
6th day tackles the thorny subject of Cloning, and genetic research in general. While not as cerebral as Gattica, this movie still asks the right questions for the right reasons. The movie starts with a normal household, Arnold Schwarzenegger playing the luddite father Adam, presumably so called due to the biblical connotations of the movie's title. Adams daughter, Clara (Taylor Anne Reid) is more in tune with the latest gizmos and trends, urging Adam to get her a SynthPal Cindy - the most realistic (and hideous, I might add) doll in the shops. He refuses, wanting her to play with real friends before setting off to work as a snowboarding instructor. So far not too exciting, eh? Well, things are mixed up a bit when Adam is informed that the dog has died, and he should get a new one from Re-Pet, where a DNA-cloned dog can be grown in under 3 hours, to save his daughter any heartbreak. After much deliberation Adam decides that a Synthpal doll is better for his daughter, rather than covering up the realities of life. So, Adam returns home only to see an exact copy of himself through the window. Who is this guy, what is he doing, and why? Now, events start to really move.
While the movie starts out in a fairly mundane fashion it is, nevertheless, interesting to see how horizon-technology (now available since the movie, I may add) has been incorporated into the normal family unit. Fridges indicate what produce is required, and offers to order them for you, mirrors have personal organisers built into them detailing your itinerary for the day, and of course, cloning. The issue of cloning is initially handled by the Re-Pet stores, an idea that could easily be a reality. After all, humanity already thinks of our fellow animals as commodities, so why not clone pets? As the advert in 6th Day so eloquently puts it: Losing a pet need never break your heart again. However, the movie never addresses the issue of animal intelligence or intuition, assuming that their lack thereof means that they wouldn't be aware of the cloning phenomenon. To my mind it would be the animal kin with a closer link to the wild, and more efficient olfactory receptors, that would reject cloning. That minor issue aside, the whole cloning argument is handled very well, within the context of an action movie. What would you do if you saw your own clone, what are the sociological ramifications of a clone's rights or who decides who to clone and why? All these issues are pretty deep when you really look at them, the latter point sending shivers up my spine (fancy an eternal president Bush?). It is to 6th Day's credit that the breakneck pace hardly ever gets bogged down, but explains enough to make you think beyond what is happening onscreen. Schwarzenegger is fine as the father, but the bad guys, especially Michael Rooker as Robert Marshall, make the movie the fun watch it is, rather than the turgid mess it could have been. Look out, too for a wonderful Robert Duvall performance as he confronts the death of his wife. In fact only the main villain, Michael Drucker (Tony Goldwyn) lacks a relationship to the movie, the character seemingly ripped from a bad James Bond flick. The latter stages of 6th Day are choked by the Drucker character, allowing the movie to ease into mediocrity. The journey up until that point, however, is a good and surprisingly thought provoking one.