There was a time I remember when Ridley Scott had managed to create one of the most unsettling and thus one of the greatest horror films ever made by playing upon the fear of the unknown with the original Alien film. I’m not even sure if his son, Luke Scott, had gotten a grasp on what it was that made Alien a genre defining work just as it did, because there’s a lot here that almost rings from the beats that made Alien as effective as it was; only numbed down as a result of its attempts to reach out at pseudo-philosophy almost as if it were aping on Alex Garland’s Ex Machina from a year prior. It’s almost like a diet mix of both Alien and Ex Machina in the very worst sense possible, because there’s no thrill to be found within the action they present nor is there anything insightful to come about: Morgan is just a film that lies dead in the water all around.
Starring Anya Taylor-Joy of The Witch as Morgan, the most I’d even have managed to pick out from watching Morgan was that it was merely a story about artificiality and what harm it can only come to bring upon humanity, if such a perfection is achieved. Kate Mara, Paul Giamatti, and Jennifer Jason Leigh among others also find themselves starring inside of this hot mess, for as they interact all the more with Morgan there’s a recognizable danger coming along the way because of what Morgan has managed to grow into. It isn’t something that hasn’t been done before just from an outlook, but quite quickly it only begins to show how many other films have handled this idea far better because I’m not even sure I could even tell what exactly was Morgan trying to make of itself, but at the exact same time, trying to find a reason to care was a challenge for by the halfway point it was impossible.
If Prometheus had only succumbed to the pseudo-philosophical approach that hampered what Alien had aimed for all throughout, then I can only imagine that Morgan is the result. I kept thinking of Alien and how it constructed the “perfect organism” when looking upon everything that Morgan herself is capable of doing, and soon it almost seemed as if there was a point to where Morgan only came off as preachy. Morgan doesn’t even feel comfortable in exploring an idea it wants to show off in regards to why technological advancement can only turn out dangerous for humanity’s own sake: it just shows everything on the surface with Anya Taylor-Joy keeping one emotion and not moving anywhere from there – something that numerous science fiction films have already done in far more insightful, thrilling, and interesting manners.
Maybe this whole idea of a being so superior to everything around other humans around itself can be something terrifying, but aside from the fact that a feeling the concept has been done so much better, jarring editing only gets in the way of the experience. The editing style almost feels as if Luke Scott just mashed certain scenes together, considering how quick they come: making something completely incomprehensible as a result. Morgan doesn’t even have any sense of suspense, because the most it even does is have everything come at such a rapid pace which only finds itself especially harmful on its own end – because there’s no time to breathe before waiting for something remotely terrifying to happen, as if the film was even trying to build up anything far more thought-provoking to begin with considering how blatant its ideas are.
It also didn’t help that Luke Scott doesn’t seem like he has a grasp with how to direct his actors at this point of his own career, but while Anya Taylor-Joy stands out as a deliberately lifeless caricature that doesn’t care a bit about the damage she’s causing, the human characters I also found immensely insufferable. The cast that has been assembled here is an impressive one, but I was at a point where I was rooting for Morgan because she was the only character I even carried any sort of interest in. But it still felt evident that she was just badly written overall, because the script doesn’t seem to aspire for anything new but rather instead it just apes on so much else that has come prior at the hands of its own reliance upon exposition. It just comes out like Prometheus had it been rambling upon its philosophical approach to the Alien series: one that to some extent almost felt unfitting.
Generic is a perfect description for Morgan, but at the same time I can’t help but feel so actively annoyed with how it was going on about its own ideas because I knew straight up that I’ve seen so many other films get them out better. Anya Taylor-Joy clearly has a lot ahead of her as proven by The Witch, but I just hope that the laziness of Morgan won’t set a doomed future for her own self. Nothing particularly was compelling about Morgan aside from its own title character, and at the same time it’s enough to be pushed away from watching Morgan as it only borders towards outright aggravating in the fact it doesn’t even have any courage in standing out. Perhaps Luke Scott may have more ahead of him, but Morgan does not indicate any sort of promise.
Watch the trailer right here.
All images via Fox.
Directed by Luke Scott
Screenplay by Seth Owen
Produced by Ridley Scott, Michael Schaefer, Mark Huffam
Starring Kate Mara, Anya Taylor-Joy, Toby Jones, Rose Leslie, Boyd Holbrook, Michelle Yeoh, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Paul Giamatti
Release Year: 2016
Running Time: 92 minutes