Director: Luke Scott
Starring: Kate Mara, Anya Taylor-Joy, Toby Jones, Rose Leslie, Boyd Holbrook, Michelle Yeoh, Jennifer Jason Leigh & Paul Giamatti
Released by: 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment
Reviewed by Mike Kenny
Concocted in a secret laboratory, Morgan finds the groundbreaking development of a genetically engineered human (Anya Taylor-Joy, The Witch) crashing down when a shocking series of events unfolds. Professionally and emotionally conflicted, her scientific creators must determine whether their advancements outweigh their own livelihoods. Kate Mara (The Martian), Toby Jones (Captain America: The Winter Soldier), Rose Leslie (Game of Thrones), Boyd Holbrook (Gone Girl), Michelle Yeoh (Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon), Jennifer Jason Leigh (The Hateful Eight) and Paul Giamatti (Billions) star.
Marking the feature-length directorial debut of Luke Scott and produced by father Ridley Scott (Alien, Blade Runner), Morgan scratches the very real surface of genetic evolution and the equally troubling questions of playing maker to artificial life. Following a violent attack on a fellow scientist, risk-assessment specialist Lee Weathers (Mara) is summoned by superiors to the remote location of the incident. Developed and studied for several years by a core group of researchers, the human hybrid creation known as Morgan is closely monitored following her unexpected outburst as Weathers evaluates the teenage-looking subject and the operation at large. As the staff find themselves blindsided by their own emotional connection to the experiment they view as kin, Weathers’s judgement remains reserved until a psychological analysis on Morgan finds a provoking doctor brutally killed. Convinced Morgan and the entire project should be terminated, Weathers finds herself at odds with a disagreeable staff and an unpredictable Morgan, now on the run and exacting revenge on those who stand in her way. Featuring strong performances from the ensemble cast and a thoroughly thrilling tone, Morgan may not be revolutionary in its narrative yet, keeps viewers invested in its proceedings that deliver with well-done combat choreography and respectably violent bloodshed. Performing abysmally to box-office expectations, Morgan, possessing noticeable hints of the Scott touch and featuring a pleasing, if not seen before twist of a finale, may not have found its audience theatrically but, suffices as an efficient first stab at science-fiction for the younger Scott.
20th Century Fox Home Entertainment presents Morgan with a 1080p transfer, sporting a 2.39:1 aspect ratio. Featuring color grades that range from dim and sterile as seen in the film’s many laboratory scenes and earthy observed throughout the exteriors shot in Northern Ireland, the film impresses with its handling of inky black levels and handsome skin tones that observes Morgan’s powdered complexion very well. While not an eye-popping but rather effectively subdued presentation, Morgan offers a strong high-definition picture true to its visual aesthetic. Equipped with a well-constructed DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1 mix, dialogue is crystal throughout while, nature ambiance, echoing gunshots in the wilderness and high-speed vehicles all make sturdy statements on this exceptional track. Special features include, an Audio Commentary with Director Luke Scott, Modified Organism: The Science Behind Morgan (19:40) which hosts scientific experts in the field of genetics as well as cast and crew discussing the film’s approach, Deleted Scenes (6:03) with optional audio commentary from Director Luke Scott and Loom (20:27), Scott’s short film that also comes with an optional audio commentary from its maker. In addition, a Still Gallery (45 in total), Trailers (4:07) and Sneak Peeks (11:08) at a Discover Digital HD Promo, Assassin’s Creed, X-Men: Apocalypse, The Martian and Deadpool round out the on-disc offerings. Lastly, a DVD edition and Digital HD Code are also included.
A respectably well-paced thriller, Morgan may not be the next great chapter in science-fiction masterpieces in lieu of a concept audiences have seen all too recently yet, its box-office failure is also no indication of its otherwise admirable execution. With expectations calculated accordingly, Morgan is a dangerous experiment worthy of exploration. Meanwhile, 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment ushers the film to high-definition with exacting technical merits and a decent spread of bonus features including Scott’s first short film.