MESSAGE IN THE MOVIES
M3GAN - In Theaters
Directed by Gerard Johnstone
Starring Allison Williams, Violet McGraw
If you are visiting the East Ohio Conference website and looking at movie reviews you are probably spending too much time on your devices.
For that, I thank you. And do I have a movie for you!
M3GAN is an acronym for a cyborg doll identified as the “Model 3 Generative Android.” She is a work-in-progress for young robotics developer Gemma (Williams) whose toy company (Funki) is mostly interested in selling a cheap Furby-esque doll who enjoys farting and making wisecracks.
When her 9-year-old niece Cady (McGraw) is orphaned following a tragic car crash, Gemma decides to be a good aunt and let her live with her. As kind-hearted as Gemma is, she knows little about parenting. Her home is filled with toys, but they are treated as collectibles and kept in their boxes.
Since Gemma has to go off to work and Cady needs companionship, why not test out this 4-foot cyborg doll on her niece? M3GAN is able to do fast machine learning and could be a good babysitter. What could possibly go wrong?
There is nothing in this movie that you haven’t seen before (in films like Short Circuit, Child’s Play, The Terminator, and Westworld) and there are no great surprises or scares.
Nevertheless, this is a dumb movie that is smart about many things:
How iPads, smart phones, or remote controls have become ubiquitous diversions/babysitters for kids or grandkids.
How careers and parenting compete for precious time, with both getting shortchanged.
How products get rushed to market before adequate testing has been done.
Step by creepy step, M3GAN takes over, and it is amusing how often her most violent acts make some sense. Who wouldn’t want to see a cruel bully get what’s coming to him? M3GAN takes her job as Cady’s protector seriously and handles Cady’s grief in ways that mimic genuine caring.
While I am not going to advocate the manufacture of M3GAN dolls, I am looking forward to future M3GAN films. (M3GAN 2.0 is in pre-production to arrive in theaters on January 17, 2025.)
Watch out, Chucky. She will be coming for you next.
Halo and Pitchfork Rating:
Two halos: A cautionary tale about our misplaced trust in technology is wired into this goofy science fiction film.
Three pitchforks: Extreme violence (including one scene of child behavior that approaches rape), occasional swearing.
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Rev. Bruce Batchelor-Glader
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