“Splice” is Hollywood’s latest variation on the Frankenstein myth, with this version employing cloned DNA to create a monster that’s part human, part animal.
In that way, this film, quite literally, bridges ancient Greek myth with modern genetics through an ancient mythical creature: the chimera. In Greek mythology, a chimera was a creature made of several animals, with at least one human aspect. In modern genetics, a chimera is the result of any experiment that splices human DNA with animal DNA.
While that might sound clever, this movie looks anything but.
On one level, I’m reminded of 1995’s “Species,” as the creature here reminds me of the half-human, half-alien Sil from that film. Also like Sil, this creature grows at an exponentially unnatural rate.
On another level, I’m reminded of the ways that Hollywood can impact public discourse on important social and scientific issues. More importantly, movies sometimes even shape public understanding on issues such as human cloning. That can lead to laws bourn of naiveté, incomplete information or plain ignorance.
“Splice” looks like a poster child for the type of tinseltown nonsense that finds its way into public discourse regarding real-world issues. I’ve little doubt the film’s cloning science is malarkey, but that’s okay; it’s just a movie. What’s not okay is for such rubbish to be portrayed as scientific fact without any sort of disclaimer. Neither is it okay for politicians to point to a film like this and say “There; see what happens?” There’s only one thing, though, that’s even less okay than either of those: a film like this that isn’t entertaining. “Splice” appears to fit that description.
Moreover, the whole thing has an uninspired “been there, done that” feel (hence the “Species” comparison, I suppose) that left me feeling like I’d seen this all before. “Splice” might prove me wrong, but this clip leaves me uninterested.
For anyone who disagrees, “Splice”, starring Adrien Brody and Sarah Polley and directed by Vincenzo Natali, opens June 4.
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