Thursday, August 19, 2010

Splice (2010)

Director: Vincent Natali
Screenplay: Vincent Natali, Antoinette Terry Bryant, Doug Taylor
Cinematography: Tetsuo Nagata
Creature Designer: Amro Attia

Clive Nicoli:                   Adrien Brody
Elsa Kast:                      Sarah Pollen
Dren:                             Delphine Chaneac
Child Dren:                   Abigail Chu
Gavin Nicoli:                Brandon McGibbon
Joan Chorot:                Simona Maicanescu
William Barlow:            Davd Hewlett

I gotta fess up.  After reading this review again, I realized that I had been completely out of my mind to have given this movie 2 and 1/2 kisses originally.  It now, as of 8/7/11, has one.  I really don't have a lot of good things to say about it, and now my kisses reflect that.  Last time I'll change it.  I promise. 

Poor Dren!  She/he deserved better.  Interspecies Protective Services should have been called in, and gotten that kid into a more stable foster home.  Like maybe a crack house. 

Clive (Colin Clive?) and Elsa (Lanchester?) are the two nutty scientists in this nod to several different stories:  “Frankenstein”, “Species”, “The Fly”, “Jurassic Park”, ”An Affair to Remember”, and “How Green was my Valley”.  Just kidding about the last two, wanted to see if you were awake.   There have been some comparisons to David Cronenberg – maybe it would have been more satisfying if he had been hired to direct.  We would have had a lot more gore, more honest, outright insanity, and lots more really, really sick sex.  Now that’s a movie I would pay to see. 

The very timely and interesting subjects of the morality and ethics of scientific research involving screwing around with DNA and creating new life forms, are really not explored very much in "Splice".  They are mentioned.  A few times.  But not really addressed.  It would be brought up, and then the characters would just stare at each other.  Not that I was expecting a documentary, but a little more depth could have been attempted.  Everything just sort of happens, as if it was written in a screenplay or something. 

In the last 20 minutes or so, all hell breaks loose and it gets too batshit insane for me.  Two ancillary characters are brought in, just so they can be ripped to shreds.  And as for the tender scene between Colin and Dren….Ok, now I know that there are men in this world who,… how can I put this delicately?  Men who are a bit less than picky about with whom they enjoy sexual relations.  The phrase, ‘warm and wet’ comes to mind.  But come on, guys.  Really?  Really??  REALLY???  Would you really – I mean she’s got a freakin’ tail!  She has legs like some prehistoric chicken.  She’s bald, her eyes are on either side of her head, AND she has a crevasse down the middle of her forehead.  AND, she has a venomous stinger!  Would you REALLY take a chance and turn your back on that?  C’mon, I want a show of hands….

There is very little logic to the story.  I’m not going to pretend I understand any of the science.  Heck, maybe it makes sense, maybe not.  But people, yes I do understand some things about them.  We are supposed to think that Elsa’s poor mothering instincts (I mean later in the film, when she is hacking off pieces of “their child”) are natural because her mother abused her.  Ok, I’ll take a deep breath and kind of go with that one.  But Clive goes from wanting to destroy her, to teaching her to dance, and then doing the horizontal mambo with her.

These two nut-nuts are brilliant scientists but deeply stupid human beings. And, I have to say this...we all got a BIG ole’ piece of foreshadowing when we are told, along with Clive (he was there, I saw him!), that there have been a lot of hormonal changes in Ginger.  And then at the big presentation (“Well, that could have gone better.”) and from the necropsy they discover some sex change action they did not anticipate.  Hmmmmm, I wonder if anything like that could possibly happen to Dren?  Nah.  You know, I kept thinking about the song, “Puttin’ on the Ritz” during that scene.  “Please!  For safety’s sake, don’t humiliate him!!”

I probably sound like I am panning this movie.  Not entirely.  The effects, especially making Dren look like a real creature, are remarkable.  I like Adrien Brody very much, and he can be terrific.  At least when he is not making bad career choices that is.  Do you suppose he still keeps “The Village” on his resume?  My guess is he made this one because he lost a bet to somebody.  Sarah Polley can be good, but to me, she always comes off as a little bland.  Delphine Chaneac, who plays Dren, does a fabulous job with what is really a mime performance.  It might be an entertaining 2 hrs. for someone.

I simply must mention one more thing.  At the show we attended, at the end of the movie, when Elsa got out of the chair and we could see that she was pregnant, there were audible gasps from many in the audience.  You have GOT to be kidding me!  You didn’t know that was going to happen?? Blind people saw that coming.  Dead people knew what was going to happen.  I just hope that those audience members don’t vote, have driver’s licenses, or reproduce for that matter.

We are now set up for the direct-to-video sequel.  “Splice Twice”?  “Splice 2 – Twice as Nice”?  “Sugar and Spice and Everything Spliced”?, “Splice 2 – Electric Boogaloo”?  “Return to Splice – Revenge of Dren’s Nerds!” – (“This time it’s personal!”).  Hey, it’s fun!  Try it!

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