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'Morgan' Review: Technological Nightmare

Do not see this movie whatever you do

September 7, 2016, 12:00 am

Major Hollywood movies about robots and AI have generally fallen pretty flat, but that doesn’t change how they’re potentially rich areas for storytelling and the paradoxical notion of what it is to be alive. Or at least they should be. Morgan, however, fails to deliver anything meaningful on any level whatsoever, and should promptly be relegated to your list of films to never ever ever ever watch for any reason, no matter what.

When a risk management consultant named Lee Weathers (House of Cards’ Kate Mara) is dispatched to a clandestine science facility in the woods at the behest of the shadowy company for which she works, we slowly learn that it’s not mankind’s place to play God. This is probably where you think something like, “Duh!” But still, it’s something that people in movies seem to have no choice but to learn again and again. At this facility, a bunch of scientists have created a hybrid AI/human for … science reasons, but it would seem the thing’s rapid growth and inability to actually feel emotions—though it can mimic them—make it confused and subsequently cause it to go haywire. We’re given a little bit of background science about how this robot thing, called Morgan (played by Anya Taylor-Joy), was created, but it’s pretty confusing and sounds dumb.

Poor Morgan is stuck inside its futuristic room for snapping a deer’s neck (not kidding) while outside, and even though they’ve spent all five years of its existence teaching it to run free in the vicinity of lakes and beehives and such, they somehow believe it’s a good idea to keep it locked up. Morgan really hates being on house arrest, so it begins to straight murder its handlers. Lee obviously wants to stop this, but uh-oh—turns out Morgan somehow knows karate and is a crack shot with a gun and is totally into rippin’ throats and stuff. A renowned psychologist (Paul Giamatti, who appears for about six minutes) does try and fail to figure Morgan out, though he mostly seems combative and pointless, almost as if they brought him in just to have a slightly better explanation for robot murder than “The robot just happens to kill people.”

Even actors who have been in great films and turned in fantastic performances can’t save Morgan from itself, and we begin to wonder if Jennifer Jason Leigh, Michelle Yeoh, Toby Jones and Brian Cox were just trying to kill time between worthwhile projects or just needed a couple bucks or something. Whatever their reason for signing on, they should be ashamed of themselves, as should writers Seth W Owen and director Luke Scott (IMDb them and wonder what the hell their credits are), who sidestep any sort of morality tale or examination of our fascination with technology for cheap … well, they aren’t exactly thrills, so much as they’re stupid moments by which to gauge how much longer you’d have to sit through this bullshit. Sci-fi fans, horror buffs or even people with a rainy afternoon to kill should think about seeing literally anything else playing when they head out to the movies, because Morgan is just going to piss you off. Badly.


Morgan
Directed by Luke Scott
With Mara, Taylor-Joy, Yeoh, Giamatti and Leigh
Violet Crown, Regal,
R,
92 min.


 

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