M3GAN ★★★

I didn't plan it, but I'm in the middle of a Child's Play/Chucky rewatch and suddenly here's a brand new killer doll movie. Between Chucky, Silent Night, Deadly Night 5: The Toymaker AND an inordinate number of Pinocchio movies last year, I'm up to my gills in artificial life. I should probably be concerned.

Anyhow, M3EGAN (or Megan) is about a roboticist/toy maker who has been working in secret on an AI doll for children. She introduces it to her niece and they become best friends for life... however long that lasts.

This movie is smorgasbord of science fiction, horror, AI, and killer doll movies. It's also got a serious tone and pacing issue, especially in the second act and going into the third. The movie goes a full hour setting up the doll/robot before anything "interesting" happens... by which I mean, before she goes homicidal.

That hour is decent but it's basically just a science fiction film about AI and emergent learning. As such, it needed to be better, smarter, more dedicated to its robotics/AI development since it was dedicating so much time to it. There are some suspenseful moments (I'll say charitably) but mainly it focuses on a middle-ground AI story.

But then the flick remembers it sold itself on being a killer doll movie... and that final act is pretty good. There's a wild tonal shift though... I mean, we go from semi-smart sci-fi big idea movie to dancing homicidal doll freakout. And it really saves the movie. It's fun, freaky, and weird and probably blows the doors off an active crowded theater.

Megan is an uneven one but I came down on its side in the long run. Wish it was smarter or wish it was more consistently the movie its being sold as. But it largely gets there in the end. Not a perfect film, but better than I thought it was going to be.

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