Splice is the tale of good science gone bad but with the best intentions (don't our most beloved characters always have the best intensions? Even Darth Vader had the best intentions before he was turned to the dark side of the force). Adrian Brody and Sarah Polley star in this re-imagining of classic Promethean lore when two bio-engineers trying to make the ultimate breakthrough in modern life science, pushed to the limits of their talents and forced to take a short cut. It’s the story of the motivated genius meets corporate profits and the deadlines that come in tow with corporate money. It’s Adam and Eve. It’s Frankenstein. It’s the story of birth. When our protagonists realize they have started down the moral low road by unethically combining human DNA with that of a complex animal strain in an effort to further their passion for scientific research the worst can only be around the corner.
This picture is like watching the good CGI guys do their really best stuff. The creature creation was everything that CGI should be. They focus on that things that can’t be made in real life (not endless computer generated blood spatter); the facial expressions and the abstract body movement of a nonexistent creature is precisely the moment where CGI can give its greatest performance. The body parts that aren’t human are forged with the flesh of a whole new animal and lifelike at that. These aren’t your dad’s CGI people. These are the equivalent of “Harvey Keitel as Mr. Wolf in Pulp Fiction” grade CGI people. I’m pretty sure that if you let these guys go all out they could CGI the news and you’d never know it. Beautiful work.
So the story sucks right? It’s a terrible story because they spent all the money on those damn CGI fuckers and none on the writers, right? Nada, no way, N-O. Never! It’s the Modern Day Prometheus modernized. Dr. Frankenstein is split into a dueling, equally emotional couple of bio-engineers (read Mad Scientists). He’s Colin Clive, and she’s Colin Clive in drag (and more ferociously megalomaniacal then her counterpart or Clive as Dr. F. put together). So they got the acting right. They got the CGI dead on. Classic story retold in a relevant way without the obvious retell of Mary Shelly’s great work.
Throw in the X-Factor. These modern day films have to have a little plot twist to keep the audience guessing and make the sheckle-shellers feel like they got their money’s worth in the theatre. Do you see it coming? Only when they elude to a plot twist late in the game. You’re not getting the severed head in Seven and it’s not Pam Voorhees as the killer in Friday, but it’s pretty damn good. That’s all we’ll say about that since saying more means I spoil like milk in the noon day sun.
Watch this one in as high a definition as your soon to be dilated pupils can stand and enjoy people painting the CGI equivalent of Starry Night in front of you (fuck Van Gogh and don’t let Avatar cloud this one’s tremendous achievement in graphic art).
PS. I like Van Gogh and Avatar. Sue me.