Morgan

Director: Luke Scott (2016) BBFC cert: 15

Kate Mara gives a blank performance as a corporate investigator in this wearingly predictable sci-fi thriller.

It’s a curious choice of material for a directorial debut by Luke Scott, who presumably would enjoy being recognised for more than being the son of industry titan, Ridley.

Grappling but never getting to grips with sci-fi’s key theme of sentience, Scott Jnr’s film desperately clings  to the coat tails of his father masterpiece, Blade Runner (1982). For long stretches Morgan feels like an unofficial fan fiction prequel. It is produced by Scott Snr’s production house.

Alex Garland’s debut Ex Machina (2015) covered much of the same ground and is a far superior model.

As the immaculately presented Lee Weathers, Mara arrives at a remote research facility to assess the viability of Morgan as a potential product stream in light of a violent episode.

Morgan is the result of synthetic DNA and nano-bot technology being subjected to an accelerated growth programme. It/she appears to be a teenager yet is really only five years old.

Anya Taylor-Joy endows her dead-eyed and hoodie-wearing character with a suitably sullen teenage malice and is capable of defending herself.

Toby Jones and Michelle Yeoh furrow their brows as scientists while Paul Giamatti arrives to administer a psyche evaluation which is definitely not a Voigt-Kampff test. The scientists regard Morgan as their child and are suspicious of Lee’s motives.

The evil corporate angle is over emphasised and under developed, humourless characters leave us cold and there’s a forgettable soundtrack. Though we’re presented with the occasional arresting visual composition, there’s a lack of ambition in the camera movement.

Despite nicely executed bloodshed and decent stunt work, this is a functional and uninspiring creation lacking the necessary heart and soul.

@ChrisHunneysett

 

Ratchet And Clank

Director: Kevin Munroe (2016)

From Super Mario Bros. (1993) to Street Fighter (1995), Hollywood has a low scoring rate when trying to turn video games into cinema hits.

Never threatening the high score of soon to be remade Lara Croft: Tomb Raider (2001) or Resident Evil (2002), Ratchet And Clank features a defective robot and an alien mechanic teaming up to save the universe.

Based on the game of the same name, this is a poorly assembled and malfunctioning sci-fi animated adventure.

More a sugar fuelled distraction than a coherent movie, it’s written for and possibly by attention deficit kids wide eyed on popcorn and fizzy drinks.

David Kaye voices Crank, a defective War-bot. Unlike his monstrously armoured production line robot siblings, he’s petite, prissy and pacifist.

Clank is scheduled for demolition by Paul Giamatti’s Chairman Drek. He’s employed Armin Shimerman’s evil scientist Doctor Nefarious to build an army of robot assassins to annihilate the Galactic Rangers.

The Rangers are a dim and trigger happy team of celebrity loving law enforcers, lead by the square jawed and muscle bound buffoon Captain Qwark, voiced by Jim Ward.

Crash landing on a distant world, Clank is rescued by Ratchet. Energetically voiced by James Arnold Taylor, he’s some sort of orange space fox.

A small mechanic with big dreams, Ratchet whisks his new friend away to warn the Rangers.

With the least possible attention to detail in the animation, character, plot or dialogue, it’s a manic, mirthless mash up of movie spare parts, many borrowed from the Star Wars films.

But sadly not just the good ones. There’s a planet destroying weapon and pod racing. Architecture is republican era Alderaan.

The script throws in jokes about selfies and hashtags in a futile bid to be relevant. At one point a robot henchmen chews up a smartphone as punishment.

For the intended audience it’s probably the most terrifying moment in the whole film.

The release date is presumably to capitalise on the UK Bank holiday, pitching itself at all the kids too young to see Captain America: Civil War (2016) or have already seen The Jungle Book (2016) and Zootropolis (2016).

Sylvester Stallone, Rosario Dawson and John Goodman offer recognisable names to tempt unwary parents with a mirage of quality.

It’s game over already for this wannabee franchise.