• Sun. Jun 23rd, 2024

M3GAN movie review

ByTaylor T Carlson

Jan 5, 2023

M3GAN is directed by Gerard Johnstone. The film stars Allison Williams, Violet McGraw, Ronny Chieng, Brian Jordan Alvarez, Amie Donald, and Jenna Davis.

Young Cady is left an orphan when she survives the car crash that claims the life of her parents. She’s sent to live with her aunt Gemma, who is employed by a major toy company and has no experience raising children. The disillusioned and overwhelmed Gemma sets out to create the ideal companion for her niece, which she gives her in the form of M3GAN, a sentient android who is capable of learning and bonding with a child, as well as filling many other functions, and which Gemma believes could be a major moneymaker for the toy industry. But Cady’s attachment to M3GAN becomes dangerous as it disconnects her from other aspects of her life, and when the doll begins taking on an overprotective attitude, “protecting” her human child companion by any means necessary, often with disastrous results.

I love going to the movies, but I tend to dread going to see them in January. The period immediately following the Christmas blockbuster season tends to be a “dumping ground” for lesser movies, with diamonds in the rough being few and far between during this time. I can’t say that I came into M3GAN with the highest of expectations (note that I only read a description of the film and had not watched a trailer). This critic was expecting a generic by-the-numbers thriller of a killer doll on a horror spree with a bunch of jump scares; something we’ve seen a million times before. And while M3GAN certainly has scenes that fit that criteria, I got a lot of things I wasn’t expecting, including brilliantly executed satire and a balance between laugh-out-loud comedy and sheer terror and violence that’s tough to pull off. I sure as hell wasn’t expecting M3GAN to be as good, let alone as good as it was. While it does suffer from a handful of issues not unlike the titular android, the movie is vastly superior to what you may initially believe. Don’t judge this one by trailers and descriptions; you’ll be missing out!

The biggest standout feature of M3GAN is, well, M3GAN herself. The android’s look beautifully balances cuteness with the “creepy kids” horror subgenre, and the results both terrified and amused this critic. She’s the unholy love child of Ultron, Alita, HAL-9000, Major Chip Hazard, and Chucky, but the filmmakers take these age-old concepts and craft them into something new and original. The character isn’t a “villain” outright, and in fact, initially acts with the best of intentions. What truly impressed me with this film is it didn’t become a bloodbath right away. By taking its time to develop the bond between M3GAN and Cady, the film is surprisingly effective; pacing is everything in a movie and these filmmakers don’t take it for granted. Will you fall in love with this character or be disgusted by her self-growth and inevitable lashing out? For me, it was a little bit of both.

The satirical angle of the film works equally well. The very first scene of the movie is a toy commercial for one of the products featured in the film; I initially wasn’t sure if this was part of the movie or an actual ad! These commercials are so well done (but with just enough of a comic twist) that they could easily have been thrown on a television in the real world, and I’d have believed it was a real product. In many ways they’re reminiscent of those mock trailers we see at the beginning of TROPIC THUNDER, and I mean that in a good way. Seeing how children become obsessed with their toys and withdrawn from the real world, as well as how parents use toys and technology as babysitters of sorts is handled surprisingly well here. Yes, M3GAN has a killer android/doll. But it’s when the movie takes this relatable approach, hitting close to home, that it’s at its most effective.

World building matters in cinema, and M3GAN pulls that aspect off surprisingly well. What we get here is essentially the real world, with major corporations and executives wanting to get the next big toy on the market so that they can make millions, if not billions, regardless of any potential repercussions that may follow. If you’re a parent, odds are you’ve braved the crowds to get the “next big thing” for your kid to put under the tree on Christmas morning (while this movie would’ve been a great December release for this reason, it stands to reason Universal and Blumhouse would delay its release to January, avoiding competition from blockbusters including AVATAR: THE WAY OF WATER). The nice thing about M3GAN is there’s something here for everyone. It’ll please horror fans, toy enthusiasts, sci-fi buffs, and even young couples seeking the perfect “date night” horror movie.

The movie only falls flat in a few areas. Opting for the PG-13 rating rather than going for the all-out R rating means the film is never quite as gory or over-the-top violent and shocking as this horror fan would’ve wanted; presumably the studios wanted to see this one get a wider audience, hence the lower rating. The movie also does a great job painting a picture of the chaos left in the wake of M3GAN’s ever-changing directive, but it misses an opportunity to deal with the aftermath and further repercussions caused by this; what happens with these corporations in the wake of what we saw unfold? Five more minutes of running time would’ve allowed for a fuller conclusion.

Something tells me this isn’t the last we’ve seen of M3GAN. The movie’s better than you’d expect. Intelligent, satirical, relatable, and at times outright hilarious and violent alike, it’s an endless thrill ride that never wears out its welcome. Despite some very minor issues, highly recommended overall!

By Taylor T Carlson

Taylor T Carlson Assistant Editor/Senior Staff Writer Taylor T. Carlson was born August 17, 1984, and has called the Vegas Valley home his entire life. A die-hard fan of classic rock and metal music, Taylor has been writing album and concert reviews since he was 16 years old, and continues to do so, having done well over 1,000 reviews. He is also a fan of video gaming and cinema, and has reviewed a number of games and films as well, old and new alike. His thorough and honest (some would say brutally honest) reviewing style has won him the respect of hundreds of music fans and musicians alike, both local and abroad, and the ire of just as many others. Despite being one of the youngest attendees at classic hard rock/metal shows around Vegas, he is also one of the most knowledgeable, having gained the unofficial nickname of “The Eddie Trunk of Las Vegas.” In addition to reviews, Taylor has written and self-published three books on classic hard rock bands, and is a regular participant in rock and roll trivia contests. Taylor also holds a masters degree in special education from the University of Nevada Las Vegas (UNLV), and has appeared on the hit History Channel television series Pawn Stars. His dream is to be able to one day make a living from writing music books and reviews.

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