Rev Up the Engines

REVIEW: Mother/Android



Have you ever wondered what would happen if technology suddenly saw humans as a threat that needed to be wiped out?  Have you ever thought, 'should we worry about artificial intelligence?  Well, if your mind has ever gone down that road, Netflix has a new film that will finally looks at this possibility.  For the first time in the history of human story telling, technology is being portrayed as a possible antagonist.  

Well my use of sarcasm wasn't anywhere near good, but I can tell you right here and now, it was better than what you will find in Mother/Android.  Starring Chloe Grace Moretz as Georgia and Algee Smith as Sam, the story follows a young couple trying to find safety after androids rise up against humans.  Georgia is pregnant, and they want to get to Boston, which has fortified itself against the androids.  From there, they are hoping to be taken to South Korea because for some reason there are no androids there.

Chloe Grace Moretz does what she can to make this a good movie, as she is incredibly talented.  The problem is that her character is not well written, and no amount of effort from her can overcome the lack of consistency Georgia's words and actions.  In some situations being nine months pregnant affects her agility, other times it's like she isn't pregnant at all.  Fear not, she's not the only element of inconsistency in the film.  

There is a lot that happens that really doesn't make much sense when we think about how people would really act and what they would say.  One issue of immense tension between Georgia and Sam could have been solved in a single sentence.  However, he plot demands she's upset so Sam is an idiot and doesn't explain why he did something.  Writer and director Mattson Tomlin appears to have a specific plot that he's dedicated to, and is willing to force whatever needed to make sure the story gets there.

Movies don't need to be completely original.  A good concept from the past could be a good concept for today.  Technology can be both exciting and scary, but Mother/Android pays no attention to those fears.  This is a world where people have servant androids, which look just like humans, and those androids go into kill mode all at once.  I feel like this could be a very interesting concept, exploring fascinating themes.

Ultimately, the androids act just like zombies, with one exception.  Even how they are presented with flesh falling off their faces evokes images of zombies.  On The Movie Breakdown podcast, Christopher said he wondered if this script actually started out as a zombie film, and the antagonists ended up getting swapped for androids.  This observation would explain a great deal.  There is next to nothing the androids do that doesn't resemble zombies.  One would think that smart artificial intelligence would be a fierce enemy to fight, but that's not what happens here.

Something positive about this film is that while it is obvious it doesn't have a massive budget, it generally doesn't attempt anything it cannot pull off.  Many times we will have low budget pictures that try and have massive set pieces that fail because they are messy looking.  Low budget films can look great if they stay in the realm of what they are capable of delivering, and Mother/Android manages to look good for the most part because it doesn't chase outlandish ambitions.

I really want to enjoy each movie I sit down to watch, but there was no way to find enjoyment here.  Sure, the base concept is a very tired one, but this really could have provided its own unique twist.  I think a lot could have been said about how we interact with our technology, as well as how suspicion of others could torment us.  Bring on humans versus machine movies, I say.  Done well, they can be entertaining and thoughtful.  Done wrong, they are Android/Mother.

Rating - 1.5 out of 4 stars







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