Replicas - An Ode to Nihilism (w/ Keanu)
FML, I have a confession to make. You may think me a pious man, but the reality is, I have committed a grave sin: I have gambled with The Devil. Many moons ago, I bet @devil that the 2019 Cranston/Hart film The Upside would make less than $20M on its opening weekend. While the bet was very close ($20.355M, but who's keeping track?), I came out on the losing end. But what was the wager, you ask? Money? Power? Had I gambled my very soul away? No, far worse - I gambled a viewing of the 2019 Keanu Reeves sci-fi thriller, Replicas. Replicas quickly disappeared from theaters, so for months the debt has remained unpaid. Until now.
Now you may think Replicas a mere catastrophe, but I call it one of the most disturbing works of cinema of our time. Never before have I seen a film with such a nihilistic premise: do literally anything you want, for there will be no consequences for your actions whatsoever. I'm guessing most of you missed this masterpiece (shame on you), but don't worry, I will recount the plot for you beat by beat.
The movie starts with our hero, Bill (Keanu), failing to implant a dead human's mind into a robot body. He has been working hard to transfer human consciousness to robots via eyeball needle, and has yet to crack the code. After a not-at-all heavy-handed discussion about whether or not a human soul exists, Bill drives his entire family (his wife and three children) to an impromptu vacation through a monsoon. One blind curve and errant truck later, Bill's entire family is dead in a lake at minute 15 of the film.
Fortunately, Bill has a friend Ed who happens to know how to clone people. With their powers combined, they can make new clone bodies AND transfer his family's consciousness to them! Unfortunately, the local Costco only had 3 cloning vats left, so Bill has to choose which family member doesn't make it. In a decision that no movie dad has ever made, Bill chooses to NOT bring back his youngest daughter, Zoe. After stealing all of the car batteries in the neighborhood to create a makeshift backup generator (not how that works), Bill has 17 days to figure out how to transfer his families' consciousness without them going crazy.
Now, you would think that Replicas would be a cautionary tale about brining people back to life, something like the "sometimes dead is better" from Pet Semitary. But no, it's more like a teen comedy where a kid has thrown a party and needs to clean the house before his parents get home. During clone incubation, Bill works tirelessly to gaslight his family into believing they never died. There's an epic computer montage where he emails and texts friends and coworkers, even asking the lifelong question of his older daughter, "WHO IS BAE???" He goes so far as to search each of the memories of each family member and erase any existence of Zoe. He throws away all of Zoe's things, literally scrubbing the house of any trace of her.
The clone family wakes up, and Bill succeeds in transferring their minds. There are a couple of kinks, some coordination problems, and you think maybe this is where things start going to ****. Nope, they're all basically fine, if slightly suspicious of why they don't remember many weeks. But lo, in that classic sitcom cliche, Bill's term project of getting transfer of human consciousness into a robot is due today! So Bill does what any of us would do: he hides in the bathroom to hastily make an AI clone of himself. Bill "cross-my-heart-hope-to-die-sticks-a-needle-in-his-eye"s himself, and magically figures out an algorithm to make the transfer works this time.
I'm just gonna skip to the third act where a bunch of stuff that doesn't matter happens. Bill's boss Jones reveals himself to be a baddy who knows the family are all clones, and wants to kill them all for reasons. He also wants the AI, so Bill destroys the AI he just made before he gets to actually use it. There's a chase sequence where the family has to remove GPS units from themselves by defibulating themselves (Mission Impossible 3 style), but in the very next scene they all get captured anyway.
Bill comes back to save his family, so Jones shoots Ed (cloning guy) right in the head. Seems like a waste of intellectual property, but sure. Bill agrees to recreate the AI algorithm from memory, but in a twist, he uploads a clone version of himself into a robot! The Bill robot, or Billbot, goes all Terminator on the guards in a scene that would make 1980s James Cameron embarrassed. Jones is mortally wounded. The family escapes, but Bill has to do one last thing before he goes. With new access to cloning technology, he is able to recreate Zoe, and the family is reunited and lives happily ever after on a beach somewhere. Everything went great and there were no consequences for playing God.
But lo, not only were there no consequences for Bill, but the stinger reveals one final twist: Jones was also reborn into a new body, and has made a business selling clones. Aided by the Billbot from earlier, the two live in Dubai selling youthful clones to the rich elderly. Greed and lust for power leads to the ultimate of happy endings - the ability to make bazillions of dollars defying nature. Good or evil, careful choices or reckless abandon, every character lives happily ever after.
Except for Ed. Ed ends up super dead.
So there you have it, FML. I saw Replicas so you don't have to. My debt is repaid. Devil, if you're reading this, I hope you are content in the knowledge that this bet will haunt me to my core for the remainder of my days.Jun 11, 2019, 6:19am PDT
Reminded me of this:
minus the Z.
Sounds like a joyride that movie! I'll bet Zoe is going to be pissed off her dad threw away all her stuff though.Jun 11, 2019, 6:31am PDT
Unfortunately I saw it too! https://www.rosythereviewer.com/2019/05/hail-satan-and-week-in-reviews.htmlJun 11, 2019, 9:38am PDTEdited
this was wonderful lunchtime reading, bravo @backseatdirecting!Jun 11, 2019, 9:43am PDT
Your debt has been paid. Fantastic review!Jun 11, 2019, 1:43pm PDT