Is A.I. Thriller Morgan This Year’s Ex-Machina?

New trailer has all the markings of a great sci-fi flick

By Kirk Miller

 
Is A.I. Thriller ‘Morgan’ This Year’s ‘Ex-Machina’?
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27 June 2016

Last year, it was called Ex Machina. And it was fantastic. This year, the technology-gone-bad genre brings us Morgan, which debuted a creepy new trailer today.

Yes, we’ve seen this movie before. And we’ll be first in line to see it again when Morgan opens on Sept. 2.

Because given the topic — manipulating and crafting artificial DNA — the film is nothing if not ridiculously prescient. Just last week, the Sean Parker-funded “gene-editing power tool” CRISPR announced its early debut … and if watching Hollywood’s latest genomic worst-case-scenario helps us to avoid a global catastrophe, it will be $20 well spent.

On a more genre-based note, Morgan marks the directorial debut of Luke Scott, who — speaking of DNA — is the prodigal offspring of Ridley Scott, a producer on the film. His dad’s influence is certainly felt. Just look at the trailer’s last half: scared people trapped in a small space with a dangerous creature on the loose. A robotic voice intones, “Initiating lockdown ... 10, 9, 8...” and someone screams, “We have to terminate it!”

Sir Ridley’s Alien more than comes to mind.

A few other films that Morgan seems to share genes with, at least on first glance: Splice, Hanna and maybe a dash of I, Robot. Admittedly, while some of the dialogue in the trailer seems a little trite (“She’s the next step in evolution!”; “She had...a tantrum”), the casting is nerd perfect: Kate Mara, Anya Taylor-Joy (The Witch), Toby Jones (playing a doctor and channeling his Wayward Pines mad genius), Michelle Yeoh, Jennifer Jason Leigh and Paul Giamatti ... at his unhinged Paul Giamatti-ist (“Feeling a little sad, Morgan? Do you like it here? Do you think it’s NORMAL FOR FRIENDS TO LOCK EACH OTHER IN CAGES? ANSWER ME!”).

Fun, albeit dark times ahead for human evolution.

Morgan opens Sept. 2. Here’s the official description of the film, via 20th Century Fox:

A corporate troubleshooter (Kate Mara) is sent to a remote, top-secret location, where she is to investigate and evaluate a terrifying accident. She learns the event was triggered by a seemingly innocent “human,” who presents a mystery of both infinite promise and incalculable danger.

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