Movie Preview: Splice

By Michael Vass | May 17, 2010

There is a saying that all stories are derived from 7 original plot created millenia ago. That might be one explaination for the film Splice. Another would be that Hollywood is once again out of original ideas, and thus needs to revision old ideas. Which might be a more accurate cause for Splice.

Splice is basically a rehash of the film Species. The question of what happens when scientists mess with genetic codes has been brought up to date from 1995. Instead of an alien first contact, this time we are treated to the folly of scientists playing God. The net resuilt is pretty much the same though.

In this film we have scientists that secure fame, and infamy, for creating new creatures based on combining genes of creatures that already exist. Think of it as the video game Spore in a real world setting. This is of course done with the best interst of the world in mind. Maybe plants that can provide milk, or cows that give off less methane, or some other silly eco-friendly concept. Which only spurs the scientists responsible to keep going further. Because if they don’t do it, “someone will”.

Amazingly, the corporation in this film won’t cross the line. Fear of lawsuits rather than morality is the reason though. Thus the scientists go off and give it a try themselves. How they would have the funding and access to equipment is probaly handled by a weak plot device. Best not to focus on such details.

Eventually they create a new thing, part human, part lizard, part monkey, part bird, and a few other parts just for good luck. Something that the scientists feel would have immunity to diseases that could be used to cure AIDS, cancer, and the common cold. Because they have to have a reason better than they are just ego maniacs that want to see if it can be done.

Eventually the creature grows rapidly, and in ways never expected. It eventually breaks out, seeking to reproduce like every other lifeform might want to do. Our “heroes” chase after the thing, called “Dren” (Farscape fans should get a big laugh out of that), first hoping to catch it, then trying to kill it when they realize it would likely replace mankind as the dominat speieces on the planet. These kinds of things always can do that.

In the end, after sacrificing friends, and possibly at least one of the scientists (I say the male since Dren is female), the creature is killed – apparently. Humanity has been saved, though the scientists are now pariahs in the scientific community. Until we get a final scene that makes you wonder if Dren, or it’s unknown offspring, still lives.

If you think that final scene is a guess, consider that a sequel deal is already being hashed out.

Honestly the storyline bores me. The multiple sequels to Species really covered it all already. The fact that this is getting a retrofit doesn’t make it any more interesting. But then again the film is targeting those too young to have seen Species 15 years ago. Plus it will have lots of anti-corporation messages, and an eco-friendly theme. That sells these days, or so politicians (and Hollywood) keep saying.

The best thing going for the film is director Vincenzo Natali, who was responsible writing and directing the cult classic and superb film Cube. But Splice seems to be far outside the generally minimalistic genre of films that Natali usually is more successful at.

Is Splice worth the cost of a theater ticket and all that entails? It depends on if you ever saw Species. If you have, wait for the DVD, you won’t miss much. If you haven’t then you will probably find the film a refeshing change of pace.

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