Plot: What’s it about?
Is there anything creepier than the dead eyes of an android? No really…is there? Probably not. And I’ve never seen an android in the flesh (so to speak). But I think that technology is evolving fast enough that someday we’ll all have that opportunity. Remember a simpler time when we could go outside, ride a bike and play with some friends? Are those days gone forever? I’m going off on a tangent here. Let me switch gears. Though he’s not the man behind the camera, James Wan has given us his share of horror films. The latest entry into his pantheon is M3GAN, the story of an artificial intelligence “lifeform” who has more to her than meets the eye. Wan has made a name for himself and even with a few of his own films dealing with “creepy dolls”, namely Annabelle and Dead Silence. And now we’ve got…this. Essentially if you add some parts from Fatal Attraction, throw in a bit of Single While Female, mix in some bits of Terminator 2 and a good portion of Child’s Play you’ve got this.
We meet Cady (Violet McGraw) as we witness a devastating accident that takes the lives of her parents. She’s summarily sent to live with her aunt, Gemma (Allison Williams), someone responsible for creating a “Furby-like” toy that’s the talk of the town. Gemma has some issues at work, namely trying to keep her boss (Ronny Chieng) happy. She’s also woefully unequipped to fill the role of mother. But her newest invention, M3GAN (Model 3 Generative Android) looks like a real girl and has the ability to learn from its user. Gemma “pairs” it with Cady which leads to a tight bond between the two. Gemma then uses this attachment to sell the idea to her boss who only sees dollar signs. All is well, though as the bond between the two strengthens, we see a side of M3GAN that might jeopardize the entire project.
If you’ve seen Child’s Play (or any of its sequels) then you’ve essentially seen this. Take a look at the cover art. Do you think that something like that could do anything good without there being a nefarious side? Hell no. But the scary part, and I mean the truly scary part, is that this idea isn’t so far-fetched. I read that an artificial intelligence “app” discovered a new form of liver cancer treatment just by scanning doctor’s notes. Good? Of course. But scary is well. How long until these things become self-aware and then we’ve got a Skynet situation on our hands. Ugh. I don’t even want to think about that! The performances are fine, the story is “been there, done that” but despite it all, the film still managed to hold my attention. And given the critical and commercial response, it’s highly likely that we’ll be seeing more of this dead-eyed doll in the future. I can’t wait.
Video: How’s it look?
There’s nothing artificial about the way M3GAN looks on its 4K debut. Colors are bold and the entire spectrum is covered and with the added benefit of HDR, everything seems to “pop” a bit more. The interior of the house, office, etc. give a warm vibe that nearly looks like a Hallmark movie (I’m sure it was intentional) while the outdoor scenes retain that sun-soaked color palette. This changes later on, naturally, due to the film’s nature. The 2.39:1 HEVC 4K encode isn’t challenged in the least with the minor exception of a bit of blooming. It’s certainly indicative of what a new-to-the-format film should look like – it’s good-looking.
Audio: How’s it sound?
If you can make it past the scene where Megan sings without it sending chills down your spine, you’re a better person than I am. That said, the included Dolby Atmos mix has a few moments to shine, but they’re relatively few and far between. Truthfully, I wasn’t able to discern too much more range and depth than with the Blu-ray’s DTS HD Master Audio track. Vocals (human and android alike) sound pure, crisp and natural. I found the surrounds kick in during a few scenes, namely in the third act, but it’s a front-heavy mix for the most part. There are a few jump scares to note, but it’s to be expected (and ignored). Like the video, it excels and serves the film well.
Supplements: What are the extras?
Nothing new here. All the features from the original Blu-ray disc are here and intact. For some reason Universal decided to slap a big “Unrated Edition” badge on the front of the box. It gives the appearance that this contains the unrated edition whereas the Blu-ray didn’t. It did. Don’t be fooled by their antics!
- A New Vision of Horror – Filmmakers and cast break down how the world was created, including the initial idea, through production under the leadership of director Gerard Johnstone.
- Bringing Life to M3GAN – See how animatronics, puppets, and actor Amie Donald helped make M3GAN as real as possible.
- Getting Hacked – A behind-the-scenes look at how cast and crew accomplished some of the film’s complex stunts and gory deaths.
- Theatrical/Unrated Cut – Both cuts of the movie are included with the unrated cut being, wait for it…6 seconds longer than the theatrical version. Enjoy.
The Bottom Line
There’s nothing really new and/or inventive about M3GAN, but…so what? People see Fast & Furious, James Bond, Star Wars and Harry Potter films and there’s really nothing new there, either. This is simply a new twist on the same theme, but it does work. If, for some reason, you were holding out for this 4K edition with an “improved” picture and sound – your wait is over. If you’re on the fence – keep the Blu-ray, everything else is the same.