Splice Review (A Generous 1.5 of 5)
It’s been a down year for quality at the movies. There are some years when it’s just like that. It’s like the weather. It comes in cycles. We’re in a ‘low’ right now. Or lull. Or whatever you want to call it. We’re in a period of time where Hollywood just doesn’t give a flying shit and have absolutely no regard for the audience. Just get some high schooler who has the ability to spell his own name and steal ideas from movies that he/she watched on cable once, throw some crap CGI in there, advertise the living excrement out of it and you’ve reached you’re goal of taking a gigantic abusive #2 on your audience. One day, maybe one day soon; there will be a movie that comes along that will be really good. Better than advertised. It’ll get great word of mouth. Critics will laud the movie for it’s craft and intelligence. It’ll win awards. It’ll score big at the box office. It’ll deserve it. But that movie will not be ‘Splice’.
I’m shocked at the positive reviews for this movie. Just a third into the movie, I think the entire audience had realized that they had ‘been had’. Suckered. Bamboozled.
By the midpoint, MOST had become MST3K performers. There was an audible running dialogue in the audience that lasted half the movie and I don’t think it bothered anyone. I’m normally livid at people that interject their own comments at movies, but it actually enhanced this one. ‘Splice’ was humorless, throughout, except for the jokes supplied by the audience.
There were plenty of awkward ‘not intended to be funny’ moments and one in particular (aided by an audience member’s memorable one liner) that had me laughing uncontrollably for several minutes. Biggest and best laugh I’ve had at the theater in a LONG time… But, again: it was an unintentionally funny moment with audience input. Without this audience, I think this might be the least enjoyable film I’ve seen this year (other than Clash Of The Titans). With the audience… Well, it’s sometimes fun just watching the train wreck where the pileup keeps getting bigger and louder.And since I haven’t typed this out yet: SPOILERS! SPOILER ALERT! SPOILER ALERT! THE WHOLE DAMN REVIEW IS A SPOILERALERT! DON”T READ ANY FURTHER IF YOU DON”T WANT TO KNOW ANYTHING ABOUT THIS MOVIE!!!! Okay, I mean it! Don’t cry foul or anything else if you decide to read on, because I’ve warned you! I don’t like to give movies away but if you’re still reading and you want to be surprised by the movie when you see it, then A) you don’t like surprises, B) you must have absolutely no self control and can’t bring yourself to stop reading something once you’ve started, or C) you’re just an idiot and nothing I say can dissuade you from reading on and being indignant at me for giving away so much of a movie that YOU have not yet seen even though I am wasting a lot of word space trying to warn you that I am going to SPOIL it for you if you continue reading….. Please don’t be an idiot. I’ve warned you.
The story revolves around a couple of ‘genius’ scientists (Sarah Polley and Adrian Brody) who share a bed and the same job at a genetic research facility (where apparently no scientist is over the age of 30). We know they are geniuses because the screen writer gave them lots of dialogue saying that they are. They’re also on a ‘Wired’ magazine cover like Robert Downey Jr. in Iron Man. Being on a magazine cover CEMENTS the fact that you’re a certified genius.
In the opening moments of the movie, the Scientist couple are bringing into the world the 2nd of 2 organisms that are composed of DNA spliced together from several species of animals. And of course the 2 scientists have ABSOLUTELY NO FRICKIN’ IDEA what they’re doing. They’re just combining DNA and hopin’ somethin’ll happen. You’d think there would have been some failures along the way, so that they would have SOME insight into what they’re making, besides the knowledge that they’re ‘separatin’ some protiens’! The company’s ‘suits’ have even less idea what they’re doing either, even though the entire company’s future rests on the 2 scientists.
After claiming success, the 2 scientists find out that the company is going to use the scientific breakthrough for (shudder) monetary gain (gasp). I guess they’re brilliant scientists, but don’t understand that giant private secytor research facilities aren’t COMPLETELY about world philanthropy. This really fires up the Polley character and she inserts some human DNA into another genetic cocktail. The end result starts out looking like something you’d see in a ‘Life Management Skills’ class slideshow.
It eventually goes from phallic shapes to chicken-thing to the CGI aided actress (Delphine Chaneac) that you’ve seen on the movie’s trailer with the tail, the reverse-bent legs and the widely set peepers. Delphine comes from the acting school of head-tilting. “Dren doesn’t understand what a cat is”. (Head tilt left). “Dren doesn’t understand what dancing is”. (Head tilt right for variation).
I have to admit the movie was somewhat competent until Dren (the creature with human DNA) shows up. From there the movie deteriorates into auto-pilot predictablility and self-parody. It also suffers from a major lack of thought by the screenwriter, director, producers, etc. I mean, they create this genetic hybrid and aren’t even documenting the creature’s rapid development physical, mental and … um.. sexual.
There are ZERO scares in this film despite what you may read. None. And I’m as jumpy as they come. I see a zombie flick and I sleep with the lights on (even a light one like ‘Dance Of The Dead’). So to offset this (and the lack of action/horror violence) they toss in a bit of ‘mutant kinkiness’ that includes l mutant bondage, partial ‘frontal shots’ , a mutant sex scene(which was freaking HILARIOUS) and Dren raping Sarah Polley after it becomes a dude (I did warn you about the SPOILERS). The dude thing… This isn’t like I’m revealing a big secret here. They set this up early with the 2 protein creatures switching sex. Yes, we’ve all seen Jurassic Park where they add the frog DNA and make all the dinos female and some frogs are known to switch sex when they need to and they do. Other amphibians do that, too. I’ve read National Geographic, too. Anyway, to borrow this from Jurassic Park is lazy but it would have been just poor writing to dangle that plot thread for no purpose.
That might’ve been the problem for this. I think the script might have needed a few more rewrites. I don’t know how rushed this was, but most all of the people involved are talented people. Joel Silver’s has a decent track record producing (Not so for Guillermo Del Toro, though He should stick to directing). Sure, Adrian Brody has had a stinker or 2 (‘The Jacket’ comes to mind), but I’ve liked him in most of his films (The Darjeeling Limited… King Kong, even….).
As far as Sarah Polley goes (The Adventures of Baron Munchausen, Go, The Sweet Hereafter, Dawn Of The Dead), I’ve never seen one of her movies that I didn’t like until today (excluding existenz, of course).
Holy genetically altered cows, I’m digressing all over the board.
There’s a lot of other things that could have helped this movie. Maybe the screenwriter should have watched Jurassic Park a little closer. Speilberg’s film within the film detailing what the scientists were actually doing was one of the smartest things in that movie. In ‘Splice’ you never really get an idea of what they’re actually doing (a lot was just bunk science, anyway).
Here’s another MAJOR SPOILER… As I kind of mentioned before, the Dren character rapes the Elsa character (Sarah Polley) at the very end of the film (and gets her pregnant). This seemed VERY ‘tacked on at the last minute’, as if they were trying to figure a way out of the film. They also added on what I presume to be an abortion ‘statement’. That’s what I was reading in the tea leaves, anyway. If they had wanted to really make this an abortion film (pro OR con), then the pregnancy thing needed to happen WAAAAAAAAAYYYYYYY earlier in the movie in order to ‘make your case’ as it were. Not that I care about seeing any movie about that topic. Just sayin’. Dropping it in at the very end was for nothing but shock value. Another MUCH better movie with the same scenario was Cronenberg’s the Fly. But again, I prefer my movies to be abortion-free. If I want to see a movie on that subject, I’ll check my manhood at the door and turn on the Lifetime channel.
If you’re a fan of this type of movie, then you’re almost guaranteed to have seen all of the elements of this in other films (Movies that the screenwriter plundered: the aforementioned Jurassic Park and The Fly… Alien… Aliens… Dark Angel… The Beast Within… Any movie where the actress tilts her head in robotic fashion to portray non-comprehension… The Crying Game…)
If you enjoyed that scene in Jurassic Park where they are all standing around the egg that’s hatching and cooing at it in ‘baby voices’ until the puppet ‘breaks’ out of the shell, then you are going to be floating on Cloud 9. This whole movie is like that 45 seconds of Jurassic Park. That’s ‘beach sand in the shorts style’ torture for myself, but you knock yourself out. Maybe you’ll enjoy this far more than I did. For me, if this was intended to have horror or thriller elements to it, then it failed miserably.
1.5 of 5. I guess I’m feeling charitable because of the crowd I saw this with, but I mean no ill will to the people involved. I like the 2 leads, especially. I think the entire problem was the script, as it usually is when a movie fails so miserably.
Big sigh.When is Inception opening?