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Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Raising Morgan

‘Morgan’ is the feature directorial debut of Luke Scott, who has big shoes to fill indeed.  As you might have guessed from his last name, he’s the son of Ridley Scott, director of such films as ‘Blade Runner,’ ‘Alien, ‘Gladiator’ and ‘The Martian’ (true, he also gave us ‘Thelma and Louise’ and ‘Prometheus,’ but we’re all entitled to our duds once in a while aren’t we?).  Having tutored under his famous dad, Luke is now ready to establish a name for himself in a genre that treated his father well back when he started.  Sci-fi/Horror is a safe and logical choice, the thinking goes.  So how is it that ‘Morgan’ bombed at the box office with less than $3 million over the past weekend?  Because no one watches movies (except yours truly) over the Labor Day weekend, evidently: http://www.avclub.com/article/weekend-box-office-horror-hits-and-misses-labor-da-242194.
 
The latest variation on the familiar sci-fi “Frankenstein” theme we’ve seen in such movies as ‘The Fly,’ ‘The Hollow Man,’ ‘Splice’ and ‘Ex Machina,’ it didn’t help that ‘Morgan’ has been mercilessly panned by the critics.  Nonetheless, I’ve always been a sucker for these science-gone-awry movies where we know things will go very wrong because of human short-sightedness and hubris but somehow still can’t look away.  'Morgan' is an effective sci-fi/horror thriller even if it offers nothing new.
 
Fresh off her fine debut performance in ‘The VVitch,’ Anya Taylor-Joy is once again mesmerizing and compelling as the titular Morgan, a bio-engineered “human” with preternatural abilities who became the subject of an internal investigation by cold and methodical company “consultant” Lee Weathers (Kate Mara) after a violent episode in which she stabbed one of her doctors in the eye.  Can the project be salvaged or is it a write-off?  We may all know the answer to this question, but seeing how “playing God” once again leads to our own violent end is as deliciously fun as it ever was.
 
Grade: B+
 
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