SIFF MOVIE: Splice (2009)

Let me begin this review by telling you the best way to see this film is with an enormous group of movie geeks at a midnight screening.  Especially if half of them are drunk.  Because then, and only then, will you be able to appreciate fully this film’s completely unintentional comedy.

That was how I saw this one, obviously, last night during the Seattle International Film Festival.  And it was the only saving grace of the entire experience.

The story is about two genetic geniuses, scientists Clive Nicoli (Adrien Brody) and his girlfriend/lab partner Elsa Kast (Sarah Polley) (note the two character’s first names are a nod to Bride of Frankenstein — do yourselves a favor and watch that instead).  They’ve been working for years on a project that is going to revolutionize the medical and agricultural fields:  splicing together the genes of four different species to create a new animal that, they and their bosses hope, will contain new proteins that could be used for a variety of health and commercial purposes.

At long last, they’ve succeeded, creating two globby-looking things they name Fred and Ginger.  To them, the obvious next step is to throw in human DNA, in the hopes they can use the five-part genetic creature to cure human illnesses with gene therapies.  But when their boss tells them there’s NO WAY IN HELL anyone would let them toss in human DNA, and that instead, the lab will be closed to the project and they’ll have to work on isolating proteins from Fred and Ginger instead, the two scientists decide that’s just not good enough.  They’re going to do things their way, behind closed doors in the lab, on the QT.

Of course, this ends up going badly.  No doy.  The thing is, even though we all know that’s the direction we’ll be heading in, this film still had the potential to be really good, if only because it was being helmed by two solid, intelligent actors (who, frankly, should’ve known better).

Unfortunately, first of all, it was clearly written by someone who hasn’t the foggiest when it comes to genetics or even basic science.  And secondly, the dialogue and “twists” in this movie are absolutely laughably bad.  That was the part that made seeing it with a crowd the way to go — the entire audience was laughing so hard during so much of this film it was impossible not to relax and enjoy the ride, even as I was making mental notes of all the things I found unbelievably dumb.

For example:  Do not try to convince me that your two main characters are scientific geniuses when, not twenty minutes in, one of them uses the word “autopsy” instead of “necropsy.”  Even worse, later on, the creature “Ginger” changes gender, going from female to male, and when genetic guru Clive is asked how that is possible, he replies, astonished, “I have absolutely no idea!”

Okay, so, it’s possible Clive never went to school to get that PhD.  Maybe he bought it off a web site? But you’re trying to tell me he’s also never seen Jurassic Park?  The creature was 1/4 amphibian!  Good god duh.

Believe me, things got worse from there, and it wasn’t just dumb science that was making me bonkers.  Practically half the scenes in the beginning of this film are heavy-handed foreshadowings to the end, which meant there were no surprises whatsoever, and the creature they create — the part human one — was silly looking, cheesy to the extreme, and just, argh, LAME LAME LAME.  Followed eventually by just, argh, GROSS GROSS DUMB.

See it with a big rowdy crowd.  Or your favorite MST3K-watching buddy.  Barring that, I wouldn’t recommend seeing it at all.  Entertainment Weekly gave this movie an A-minus!  I feel punked.

Opens Friday, June 4, nationwide.

[Prequeue it at Netflix | View trailer]

Genre:  Science Fiction
Cast:  Adrien Brody, Sarah Polley, Delphine Chanéac, David Hewlett, Abigail Chu, Brandon McGibbon

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3 Responses to “SIFF MOVIE: Splice (2009)”

  1. Liz Says:

    I can’t believe it! I’ve been seeing ADS ON TV for this thing! And you say that the one starring Alan Tudyk and Tyler Labine might not get a theatrical release?? Where is the justice?? Oh yeah – there usually isn’t any! See “Night of the Dead” instead. It’s even fun on TV – and there’s an adorable video I found on YouTube called “Leben Tod” (‘living dead” – get it?”)

  2. blogi7.com Says:

    Your site is like a blonde with a brain. I like it. Jokes apart, very informative post and equally impressive design.

  3. megwood Says:

    Whoever you are, you just pulled me out of a deep, dark well today. Thanks for that comment. Very kind.

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