THE STORY – Morgan (Anya Taylor-Joy) is a bioengineered child who began walking and talking after one month of existence, exceeding the wildest expectations of her creators. When Morgan attacks one of her handlers, a corporate troubleshooter (Kate Mara) visits the remote, top-secret facility where she’s kept to assess the risks of keeping her alive. When the girl breaks free and starts running amok, the staff members find themselves in a dangerous lockdown with an unpredictable and violent synthetic human.
THE CAST – Kate Mara, Anya Taylor-Joy, Toby Jones, Rose Leslie, Boyd Holbrook, Michelle Yeoh, Jennifer Jason Leigh & Paul Giamatti
THE TEAM – Luke Scott (Director) & Seth Owen (Writer)
THE RUNNING TIME – 92 Minutes
There’s nothing more frustrating than a film with wasted potential. “Morgan” has a great premise that is a combination of “A.I. Artificial Intelligence” and last year’s great “Ex-Machina.” Unfortunately, the film is executed very poorly by director Luke Scott (And who can blame him with such a generic script?), leaving the audience with a very basic sci-fi film.
“Morgan,” tells the story of Lee Weathers (Kate Mara), a corporate risk- management consultant, that is tasked with investigating a gruesome incident involving an artificially created human (Anya Taylor-Joy). Weathers’ ultimate assignment is to determine whether or not this being, named Morgan by her creators, should be terminated. Morgan’s caretakers are a ragtag group of scientists, which include some familiar names such as Michelle Yeoh, Jennifer Jason Leigh, and Toby Jones. One of the scientists is Doctor Amy Menser (Rose Leslie) who is Morgan’s best friend, a fierce protector and is therefore very leery of Weathers coming in and ultimately deciding Morgan’s fate. Due to an altercation with an off-the-wall psychiatrist (Fittingly played by a thunderous Paul Giamatti), Morgan escapes her prison with extreme violence.
This film boasts a stellar cast with both Mara and Anya Taylor-Joy turning in very good performances for the material they had. This is easily Mara’s most physical performance and she steps up to the challenge, sharing some great fight scenes with Anya Taylor-Joy. Paul Giamatti was very enjoyable in a role that was clearly written for him. He may not have a lot of screen time, but he certainly makes the most of every scene he’s in. Rose Leslie (Of “Game Of Thrones” fame) delivers a mediocre performance, which does not bode well for her future in the film business.
The film is directed by Lucas Scott, son of the great Ridley Scott. This is Lucas’ first big film and his inexperience shows, as senior Scott’s fingerprints are all over this movie (He also produced the movie). Overall, Lucas Scott does a decent job of bringing this film to the screen, but it would be much more interesting to see how the movie would have turned out without his father guiding his hand. Towards the third act, the film borrows so much from the classic movie “Alien” that it devolves into very standard action movie fare, with Weathers having to track down Morgan in an exaggerated chase scene. A late third act twist is ultimately wasted, as it was so heavily hinted at throughout the movie and comes too late to make any impact on the audience.
“Morgan” starts off strong, but loses steam as it progresses. By the third act, the film becomes an actual bore due to a set of very paint by numbers action sequences that we’ve seen a dozen times before. It is a cold, sterile film with very little color popping through. However, the biggest problem with this film by far is its confusing message, if indeed there is one. Audiences are left with a movie that meanders through its run time without a serious purpose. Now that’s not to say the ride isn’t fun, but don’t expect to leave the theater with any kind of moral revelation. Ultimately, the amount of enjoyment you’ll get out of this film depends on your own expectations. If you want to see a movie with some good acting and some great action scenes, this is for you. If you are looking for a movie that questions what it is to be human and revolves around ethics of artificial intelligence, keep looking.
THE FINAL SCORE
THE GOOD – Starts off strong with serviceable performances and some passable action scenes
THE BAD – Not intelligent nor original enough as the film borrows heavily from more successful films such as “Alien” and “Ex-Machina” without achieving what those films did