Replicas is a very modern Sci-Fi tale. If you’ve been reading the site long enough, you should know how I use modern as a code word. Basically, the modern era has given way to a cult of self-obsession and the need to pander. While we experience cultural pandering on a daily basis, what does it mean to pander to the intellect? You know, the kind of brain wank that creates things like Bro Science and your slightly nerdy friend to share highbrow articles on social media. When our entertainment does the same thing, what does that look like?
Keanu Reeves has been having quite a career boost in recent years. So, it makes Replicas such a sore spot in his recent film work. Looking at the film on a cursory script read, I can see how it might appeal to those that want to work on a thinking person’s movie. Yet, what seems smart rarely ever plays smart anymore. Curious?
Well, the film is about two science bros that want to find a way for people to live forever. Using a mix of AI, cloud data brain storage and cloning, their combined efforts will allow people to move into bodies that can live forever. Robotics come into play, but it’s not hokey. The filmmakers really go out of their way to make sure that you believe in every inch of the science displayed. Even when it falls apart in the third act.
But, what sets up the need for science to save the day? Well, life and work is hard. Keanu thinks that his work is about to be up-ended due to lack of progress and funds. His wife wants him to take a mini-vacation with his family, so he agrees to doing just that. Yep, he leaves Thomas Middleditch to work through his company collapsing, while he takes a boating trip with his family. Unfortunately, Keanu gets his family killed on the way to the vacation destination.
Lightning strikes, as Westerners decide to play Baron Frankenstein for the 1.4 millionth time since the 1820s. Keanu takes what he can harvest from his dead family to make sure that his project is a success. He brings back his wife and most of the kids by harvesting their memories through their eyes. Some cloning and robotics take place and we’ve got a new family. A new family minus one of the kids. It turns out that the daughter was a little too hard to pin down, so Keanu didn’t have enough material to make a replacement kid.
So, a chunk of the film is based on how can we make the family forget about the missing kid and restart a life. This is a kid that people knew existed for years and Keanu’s plan is just to make robot replacement family never question the missing girl in all of their family pictures. Naturally…hilarity ensues. Mom clone bot flips the hell out and Thomas Middleditch develops ethics. This all collapses, as Keanu has a plan to make this all matter.
Let’s take a breather here. What do you think happens? Does Keanu do the right thing and let his family go? Is this going to be a film about exploring the limits of scientific progress? Hell, what if the film ended on the process being refined and sold to rich foreigners as a financial source to keep improving the replica family? No matter, what you guess…Replicas is still a half baked movie.