M3GAN: Some Impressions

For the first time in seemingly eons–and probably against my better judgment–I went to the theatre, and for the sole purpose of seeing the film M3GAN, which, to me, is a cross between the 2019 Child’s Play reboot and Frankenstein, with robotics and artificial intelligence. And, much like my post on Child’s Play, there is some social commentary.

Spoilers ahead

I won’t talk too much about the storyline or the plot of the movie, but I want to comment on some scenes. Gemma, who works for a toy company, is working on the prototype for M3GAN (Model 3 Generative Android) while working on a toy her boss, David, told her to work on. David sees the android under construction in Gemma’s workshop at the company headquarters; Gemma and her team demonstrate what the android can do, but it malfunctions, resulting in David telling Gemma to put it on the shelf and work on the project he assigned her.

Meanwhile, Gemma’s sister and her husband die in a car crash, and Gemma is stuck taking care of their daughter, Cady. After seeing Cady interact with Bruce, Gemma’s previous robotics project, Gemma is inspired to finish M3GAN. She introduces M3GAN and Cady, and Cady is immediately taken with the android. Gemma and her team show M3GAN–this time interacting with Cady–and David, though skeptical at first, is so impressed he wants Gemma to show M3GAN to investors and other higher-ups. All the while, Cady continues to interact with M3GAN, who demonstrates more and more human qualities, while essentially acting as a substitute parent as well as friend for Cady.

But it isn’t long before M3GAN shows her dark side. You see, Gemma has a next-door neighbour, Celia, who she isn’t too fond of, who has a dog, Dewey, who keeps crawling through a hole in the fence between their yards and getting into Gemma’s yard. Well, one night, after he injures Cady, Dewey disappears, and a cop shows up on Gemma’s front stoop asking her about Dewey’s whereabouts. Later, when Cady attends an alternative school–bringing M3GAN with her–she is bullied by a boy named Brandon (whose mother is clearly in denial about what he’s really like), and M3GAN arrives on the scene to save Cady and dispose of Brandon–though a motorized vehicle makes it look like he died by accident. It is after Brandon’s death that Gemma realizes there is something wrong with M3GAN, and takes her back to her workshop to try and fix her–especially seeing as M3GAN’s launch is that night, as per David. But M3GAN goes haywire, and goes on a killing spree before returning to Gemma’s home and fighting with Gemma and Cady, and, Gemma realizes she has to destroy her own creation.

The first thought that entered my head as I watched this film was the question of what would have happened if Gemma had listened to David and put M3GAN aside. Now I’m wondering if Gemma had given herself and her team enough time to work out all the kinks in M3GAN before allowing David and the investors to put her on the market–as well as if there’s any such thing as ‘more human than human.’ Also, I wonder if it’s possible for manmade mechanical objects to deliberately take on lives of their own. I’m no scientist or robotics expert, but these questions enter my head whenever I take in stories like M3GAN. From where I’m sitting now, M3GAN is yet another cautionary tale about over-dependence on technology, and–much like the Child’s Play reboot–a commentary on how technology and artificial intelligence are double-edged swords.

All of that said, M3GAN was an enjoyable film, and worth every nickel I spent to see it–and in the theatre.