Thursday, September 8, 2016

Morgan Review

Did you know a movie called Morgan came this past weekend? Judging by it's horrendous box office total, there's a good chance that you didn't. Or even if you had heard about it, you may have just not cared. Despite opening in 2,020 theaters, it only managed to pull in $2.5 million over the four-day weekend, landing it in an embarrassing 18th place, behind a slew of summer movies that have been out for a while. You could blame Fox's lack of a decent marketing campaign for this one combined with the poisonous release date and sub-par reviews. There was just no excitement for this movie. That didn't stop me from being intrigued, though. The only reason why I didn't see it myself this past weekend was because it didn't open on Thursday night like most wide releases do these days and I was busy the rest of the weekend. I'm not one to let a poor box office total sway me and I'm certainly not one to be pushed away by mediocre reviews. If you were one that decided to skip this movie because it didn't seem interesting, well, you made a good move. That said, this wasn't a complete waste, so there's a chance that it could be a little better than you were thinking.

The reason why I remained intrigued despite everything is because in the last five years there were two other female super weapon movies released called Hanna and Lucy. Hanna opened in April 2011, earned a 71 percent on Rotten Tomatoes, and only made around $40 million at the box office. Lucy opened in the summer of 2014 and made a good amount of money, but only earned a 67 percent on Rotten Tomatoes and was typically seen by most as either a disappointment or a brainless action movie. These things sadden me. I thought both of these movies were phenomenal. Not only were they extremely entertaining, but they were smart, deep, and emotional movies that clicked on all levels for me. I wasn't necessarily expecting Morgan to be as good as these two, but the similarities were unavoidable. Female action star that the movie was named after where the female had super human strength. Plot that seemed like it was at least trying to be smart. I wasn't about to let this one slip away from me without at least giving it a shot. Also, this movie was on the 2014 Black List, which is a yearly list of the best written scripts that hadn't yet been made into a movie. The fact that people looked at the script and loved it is a good sign, right?

I will say right up front that the idea behind this movie is good one. If I were to describe the entire plot from beginning to end, it might actually pique your interest a bit. I'm not going to do that, of course. What I will say is that the movie centers around a girl named Morgan, played by Anya Taylor-Joy, who starred in The Witch earlier this year. Morgan was created in a lab, experienced super fast growth and has super human strength. As is the case in pretty much every movie about artificial intelligence, things go wrong. Morgan attacked someone from the lab and because of that we have Kate Mara's fancy, higher-up character coming to the lab to investigate the situation and determine if Morgan needs to be terminated or not. Yeah, that initial premise does sound like every other artificial intelligence movie. But they do attempt to go in places that other similar movies haven't explored. The second half of this movie takes several surprising twists and turns and has an ending that shocked me. That's why I say if I were to describe this movie to you, it might actually sound interesting. Thus I can see why it ended up on the 2014 Black List. On paper this is a good movie. It's in the execution of the movie where this falls apart.

I don't know who to point the finger of blame at here. Perhaps it's unfair to point that finger at first-time director Luke Scott, but at the same time I feel that a good director, like Luke Scott's father Ridley Scott, could've taken this material and done something great with it. Instead the pacing is all off and the character motivations in the second half make little sense. Let's talk about that pacing first. I saw this movie at a late showing in Luxury seating. Why? Because I could. And it was only $5 that night. The luxury seating in this specific Megaplex theater was super soft and let you lean your seat back and lift your foot rest to your heart's desire. Perfect setting to watch a movie, right? Normally, yes. But not if your goal is to stay awake so you can write an objective review. I didn't spend $5 to take a nap on a comfortable seat. But this movie was so freaking boring in the first half that I almost had no choice. I fought and I fought hard, but I was losing really bad. If you're going to make a sci-fi thriller, step one should be to find a way to keep your audience's attention throughout the whole movie. I'm not saying story and character building should be sacrificed for action. But I am saying that I should be invested in the movie, not bored to tears and fighting to stay awake.

Then we enter the second half of the movie and this is where the movie started to pick up and became really fun. And super confusing. Not confusing in terms of story. Confusing in terms of me having no idea why certain characters did what they did. The movie tried to make Morgan a human character with emotions and feelings, despite being created in a lab. I could sense that she felt bad for what she did in the opening credits of the movie and that many people on the crew were trying their best to fix her. This could've been an interesting angle. But then certain characters, Paul Giamatti specifically, started doing things that made no sense. I was sitting there thinking why are you doing this? And why are you continuing to do this when clearly this is a bad idea? Then certain things happen and the other characters should've done certain things, but yet they don't for some dumb reason. This then causes Morgan to freak out like you knew she would and at this point I was totally on team Morgan. Anya Taylor-Joy wasn't given much to work with, but she had a lot of fun with this role and was literally the only character in the movie worth caring about. I was cheering for her to go kill everyone. I had zero remorse for the other characters. Had the movie done things right, I would've cared about everyone and thus the movie would've been super emotional and engaging. But they totally missed the boat on that one.

This wasn't a horrible, cringe-worthy movie. I had fun with certain aspects of the second half of the movie even though nothing made sense. But overall it was really disappointing because I saw the skeleton of a good movie in there that could've been amazing had this been in the right hands. Anya Taylor-Joy, who blew me out of the water in The Witch, did great in this role with what she was given. Kate Mara was someone who also seemed to have a lot of fun in her role. Although I really feel bad for her because she's had horrible luck with most of her movie roles as of late. I think she's a good actress who just picks the wrong movies to be in. Perhaps she should sit down and take some advice from her little sister Rooney who has picked all the right roles in her career. Paul Giamatti was super intense in his role even though it didn't make any sense. The first half of this movie was as boring as tar and almost forced me to take an unplanned, early bed time in the soft seat I was in. The second half picked up, but it was a movie full of characters doing dumb things. Then there's a twist at the end that comes completely out of left field. It left me confused. I have a lot more to say about that, but I'll leave it at that for now. So no, this is not a complete waste of time. But ultimately it's disappointing and forgettable. I'm going to give Morgan a 6/10.

No comments:

Post a Comment