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Morgan Review: A Very Dumb Movie About Smart People

By Julian Roman — August 29th, 2016

Morgan is an entirely forgettable science fiction thriller from Luke Scott, scion of famed English Director Ridley Scott. It suffers from one of the greatest perpetual failures in cinema, ostensibly smart people doing incredibly stupid things. Think when the group of axe fodder in cheesy horror films goes their separate ways into the night woods. Morgan is ninety-minutes of poorly written, nonsensical behavior with plot holes you could drive a truck through.

Kate Mara, rocking a pixie do and black pantsuit, stars as Lee Weathers, a corporate risk consultant for a biotech company. She's sent to a creepy house that sits atop a remote facility. The company's classified project is a silvery skinned, genetically engineered human called Morgan (Anya Taylor-Joy). Weathers refers to Morgan as 'it'. The scientists that created Morgan are devoted to 'her', especially psychologist Amy Menser (Rose Leslie). She sees Morgan as a being with rights and emotions. Menser's efforts to broaden Morgan's world has resulted in a resentment of captivity. Weathers must assess the viability of Project Morgan after recent, violent setbacks.

Morgan has an all-star supporting cast. Michelle Yeoh, Bryan Cox, Jennifer Jason Leigh, and Paul Giamatti all play scientists in this film. These are heavyweight talents brought in by Ridley Scott. They portray fools. It's implausible to believe that characters of this ilk would not recognize danger. There's a point when commitment to work does not supersede the will to live. The script by Seth Owen has Morgan exhibiting threatening behavior from the opening scene. Anyone with common sense would never allow the situation to devolve as it does. Owen needed to take a page from Alex Garland's Ex-Machina. In that film, there was intrigue to the robots, Morgan totally lacks benevolence here.

Morgan has a few plot twists that aren't out of left field. Nuggets are dropped here and there regarding the back story. I wish that more had been done with this aspect of the plot. The entire setting of the film takes place at the facility, so budgetary constraints might have prevented additional scenes. I really feel that Morgan could have been shored up by a deeper dive into the oft-mentioned event that preceded the current timeline.

20th Centry Fox's Morgan attempts a pseudo-intellectual discourse on the ethical dilemma of genetic modification. Let's not over think the nature of this story. Seedless watermelons aren't massacring supermarket patrons. Morgan is just another horror movie in the woods with a sci-fi bend. The premise had potential, but the script and direction is weak. It devolves into action gimmickry with head-scratching fight scenes. Go rent Ex-Machina, or watch it again, to see a better version of this genre.