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Morgan - Movie Review

3 stars

...in which the whole Nature VS Nurture argument finally gets its hands bloody.

Okay, so maybe Morgan isn’t all that original.  The story about an artificial intelligence  being raised in a laboratory and the human assigned to evaluate her when she goes rogue and actually attacks one of the scientists in charge of her is eerily similar to Ex Machina, complete with the isolated compound surrounded by woodlands.  Yet, Morgan manages to resonate as a chilling slice of automated horror due to its pacing and its strong cast of well-seasoned character actors.

So, let’s all agree to give it a break.  There are some good things at play here.

Starring Anya Taylor-Joy (The Witch) and Kate Mara (House of Cards), the film begins with the attack of one of her handlers.  Scientist Kathy Grieff (Jennifer Jason Leigh) gets the full force of one of Morgan’s tantrums.  And it stings a bit.  You see, Morgan is a lab-grown experiment.  She’s a super-human experiment and doesn’t quite have control of all of her abilities.  Or maybe she does.  When you see what she does, you’ll be a bit concerned. 

Walking and talking in less than a month after her “birth”, the unexpected attack from this robot has a lot of her investors worried.  Enter Lee Weathers (Mara).  It is she alone who must make the choice to salvage or scrap the genetically engineered being.  Co-starring Paul Giamatti, Toby Jones, and Michelle Yeoh, the film spends much of its 90-minutes in non-specific genre mode, defying typecast until finally giving in to the horror demands.  You know what is going to happen but it’s in the getting there that we truly enjoy. 

Though this corporate-sponsored being is merely 5-years-old, she looks, feels, and acts like a young lady.  She is considered family by the team of scientists who have lived in this remote location for seven years.  The events in Morgan confirm that she is indeed a creature; an “it”, if you will, and no amount of concern for her will change that or make Weathers not go into steely-eyed kill mode when it comes time for action. 

While Owens spins several familiar threads (some even interesting since this becomes a tale about adolescent girls coming into their own), the movie –even with a twist ending and an unexpected cameo –doesn’t quite form a complete web; it goes for the derivative popcorn crowd instead of the high-brows out there and will probably disappoint those who never recognized it as a b-grade picture.  I don’t mind that at all.  I’m just noting it for the record.

The film is written by Seth Owen and directed by Luke Scott (Ridley Scott’s son) and, as expected, it is extremely low budget so it has to be smart about its offerings.  This is Scott’s feature film debut after all and, while produced by his father, the film is noticeably lacking in details.  What Scott manages to balance on the shoestring budget is quiet effective, though.  Every character gets their spotlight.  Every note of suspense and horror is heard.  And the action brings an unsettling consequence.

Morgan isn’t exactly brilliant material but it’s own particular brand of bloodlust will satisfy enough gorehounds out there to earn it a severe cult following.


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Morgan - Movie Review

MPAA Rating: R for brutal violence, and some language
92 mins
: Luke Scott
Seth W. Owen
Kate Mara, Anya Taylor-Joy, Rose Leslie
: Horror | Mystery
Don't let it out
Memorable Movie Quote: "We're all very happy to have you here, Lee"
Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation
Official Site: http://www.foxmovies.com/movies/morgan
Release Date:
September 2, 2016
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date:
December 13, 2016.
Synopsis: A corporate troubleshooter (Kate Mara) is sent to a remote, top-secret location, where she is to investigate and evaluate a terrifying accident. She learns the event was triggered by a seemingly innocent "human," who presents a mystery of both infinite promise and incalculable danger.


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Morgan - Blu-ray Review


Blu-ray Details:

Home Video Distributor: 20th Century Fox
Available on Blu-ray
- December 13, 2016
Screen Formats: 1.85:1
: English SDH, French, Portuguese, Spanish, Bulgarian, Cantonese, Croatian, Czech SDH, Greek, Hebrew, Hindi, Hungarian, Icelandic, Indonesian, Korean, Malay, Mandarin (Simplified), Romanian, Serbian, Slovak, Slovenian, Thai, Turkish, Vietnamese
English: DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1; Spanish: Dolby Digital 5.1; French: Dolby Digital 5.1; Czech: Dolby Digital 5.1; Hindi: Dolby Digital 5.1; Urdu: Dolby Digital 5.1; Hungarian: Dolby Digital 5.1; Thai: Dolby Digital 5.1; Turkish: Dolby Digital 5.1
Discs: Blu-ray Disc; Two-disc set (1 BD-50, 1 DVD); UV digital copy; iTunes digital copy; Google Play digital copy; DVD copy
Region Encoding: Region A

Presented by Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment, the transfer of Luke Scott's Morgan is a blue steel affair. That's the prominent color and, stylistically, it feels in place with the subject matter. With an AVC encoded 1080p transfer in 2.39:1, the film is loaded with nice textures, solid black levels, and outside vistas that are stunningly captured with Arri Alexa XT cameras. It's a dynamic presentation, mixing interiors and outdoor locations with unmatched precision. The sound is layered in a dynamic DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1 track that is immersive and exciting.



  • The film's director, Luke Scott, provides an interesting commentary that fans of the movie will certainly enjoy. It is details, discusses the challenges of the shoot, and the actors' contributions to the film.

Special Features:

One of the main criticisms of Morgan has been concerned with its use – or overuse – of junk science. Well, the filmmakers defend their data with the first featurette that kicks off the supplemental items. For about 20 minutes scientists come to their rescue and talk about the science at play in the film. There's also a short film from Scott, which essentially shows the origins of the movie. Deleted scenes with optional commentary from the director are also included, along with a still gallery. The two-disc set also comes with UV digital copy, iTunes digital copy, Google Play digital copy, and a DVD copy.

  • Modified Organism: The Science Behind Morgan (19 min)
  • Deleted Scenes (6 min)
  • Loom (20 min)
  • Gallery
  • Trailers


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Morgan - Movie Review