MOVIE REVIEW: Morgan (2016)

In the new sci-fi horror film Morgan, there is more action sequences to speak of than any further voyage to the core idea, that it pushes itself on the verge of being generic and mostly uneven.

Lee Weather (Kate Mara) works as a corporate risk assessment consultant who is sent to the middle of god-knows-where to investigate the subject of a top-secret science experiment—an artificially created humanoid named Morgan (Anya Taylor-Joy)—after a violent outburst. The scientists working on the subject raise Morgan as if it were their own child. Dr. Simon Ziegler (Toby Jones), Dr. Amy Menser (Rose Leslie), Dr. Darren Finch (Chris Sullivan) and his wife Brenda (Vinette Robinson), and the project head Dr. Lui Cheng (Michelle Yeoh) are all just there to protect “her.”

Morgan’s teenager look does not go near that of a 5-year-old. Donning a fierce disposition and with a pair of eyes covered in mystery, it leaves a frightening appearance which serves as a clear indication of what is to expect: something bloody, something terrible, something very familiar and Frankenstein-esque.

As we go along, there is not much information about the structure of the science organization to hold on to except for the laboratory setups, and the repetitive mention of how essential the project is, with all of its employees worried as hell. Much worse, there is an artificiality in the way it unfolds its story, just like when Dr. Alan Shapiro (Paul Giamatti) prods with questions that trigger Morgan to involve physical force yet again. Regardless of whether the intention is to hurt, damage, or kill, the establishment packed with intelligent people do not seem to realize the necessity of tightening their security and it is too late for them to have the guts to inflict harm to the very subject of their project.

Helmed by first-time film director Luke Scott and written by Seth Owen, Morgan has an enormous number of attempts to look good thanks to its classy production design and special effects. With hits and misses, things pay off: hesitantly and devoid of escalating emotions. More than being the son of the celebrated auteur Ridley Scott, the film’s writer-director appears to have the desire to own a particular style amidst the claustrophobic atmosphere of the story.

Morgan seems to be better on paper as a concept that can be effectively explored by telling stories that know where to take off and where to land.

Nonetheless, there is just too much to handle in its adaptation to motion picture that it becomes uninteresting along the way save for that climax where it veers to a twist that can either be shocking or obviously predictable.

While it may fall flat when it comes to its narrative, the strong performance by Morgan itself is enough reason to see where things are heading. Anyway, it is only Morgan who has a developed character, making the titular role just about without frills.

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