Sunday, June 5, 2022

The Adam Project

Movie Name:
The Adam Project
Year of Release: 2022
Director: Shawn Levy
Starring: Ryan Reynolds, Mark Ruffalo, Jennifer Garner, Catherine Keener, Zoe Saldana, Walker Scobell, Alex Mallari Jr., Braxton Bjerken, Kasra Wong, Donald Sales, Esther Ming Li, Ben Wilkinson
Genre: Drama, Sci-Fi
Score out of ten (whole numbers only): 5
Watch it on Netflix

Synopsis and Review:
Another big budget film stemming from Netflix courtesy of the creative team of Shawn Levy and Ryan Reynolds (who also worked on the successful "Free Guy", while Levy has also been a prolific producer on his own, including working with Netflix on the highly visible "Stranger Things" show). The narrative introduces us to Adam Reed, a fighter pilot who in a dystopian 2050 is in the midst of trying to time travel in order to save his wife, Laura. Just as he's about to make that jump in time, his captors catch up with him, and in the process he is injured, and he is also accidentally sent to 2022. In that timeline, his own self is a 12 year old, who is bullied in school and who is having some issues with his mom, particularly since his dad passed away in the previous year due to a car accident. As the Adams eventually interact and the older one briefly explains what's going on, he is soon also tracked by his captors. Just as he's about to be taken back, his wife Laura appears and manages to save them both. She explains they have to go back to 2018 before time travel got discovered, and get their father to somehow stop everything, since he's at the genesis of that discovery. The Adams decide to do so, even if Laura has to stay behind once more.
Shawn Levy who has been having an extremely busy career in production, has also managed to amass a substantial directorial output, from feature films to TV shows and Miniseries. Following the entertaining and successful "Free Guy", which had its fair share of delays due to the Pandemic, "The Adam Project" is more of a formulaic and not as compelling feature as his previous collaboration with Ryan Reynolds. The film tries to retain certain aspects of sci-fi films of the 80s, including some nods to Steven Spielberg's "ET" and John Carpenter's "Starman", but the narrative itself lacks originality, not to mention, fails to provide much dimension to the characters themselves. The main antagonist herself, Sorian, seems to initially be defined and characterized as a conflicted authority figure in 2018 which is a stark contrast with her Start Trek villain approach in 2050 (and Catherine Keener has very little opportunity to do much with this character). The same thing going for Jennifer Garner and Mark Ruffalo's parents characters, who come across as perfect sketches of what parents are supposed to be, as opposed to characters with some motivations. Ryan Reynolds as usual manages to keep the action lively, consistently funny, and he always does so effortlessly. This time he has good support from Walker Scobell as his younger self. While some of the visual effects look a bit cheaply applied, the cinematography from Tobias A. Schliessler is solid, as is the score from Rob Simonsen. Overall it's a film that while not terrible, it also isn't very memorable.