Morgan review: finding the most boring bits of a Frankenstein story

Posted by on Aug 30, 2016 in Voice-Over | 0 comments

But in execution, Morgan has just as much in common with Alex Garland’s 2015 standout Ex Machina, another recent chilly science fiction / horror hybrid about yet another inhuman female creation trying to get out of yet another glass box. Morgan echoes plenty of other stories, from Species to the genre-launching what-if novel Frankenstein, but given how recent and similar Garland’s film is, it casts the longest shadow. Many of the films’ beats are the same, but Morgan has less interest in the heady questions that usually shape science fiction: what the future will look like, how it will change us as a species, whether the good and bad aspects of cultural evolution will balance, or one will topple the other. Morgan also isn’t as visually stylish, as ambitious, as thoughtful, or as strange as Ex Machina. Most bafflingly, Morgan’s creators (Ridley Scott’s son Luke and Peepers writer-director Seth W. Owen) don’t seem to care about the natural questions a Frankenstein story raises. At best, they’re creating a stripped-down, plain-and-simple monster-mayhem story.

Kate Mara stars as Lee Weathers, a humorless tech-conglomerate rep checking in on her corp’s latest unstable investment: a lab-created young woman named Morgan (Anya Taylor-Joy) who recently rage-mutilated one of her keepers (Jennifer Jason Leigh, confined to a few brief scenes). Morgan is a five-year-old experiment in the body of a 20-year-old woman, and while the team that designed and developed her (led by Michelle Yeoh and Toby Jones) initially treated her like a beloved daughter, they’ve locked her up after a recent security breach. In flashback footage, Morgan is an adored child, surrounded by parent-figures who praise her developing intellect and personality. In the present, she’s a sullen, slouching young woman in a depressing, sterile plexiglass-and-cement cage, dully parroting the party line about how she only exists so her corporate owners can assess her validity as a potential product stream.

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