I think Mary Shelley herself would embrace “M3GAN.”
Shelley, you may remember is the author of “Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus,” an 1818 novel that has become a standard of horror and science fiction. Most of these kinds of stories, “M3GAN” included, are morality tales about what happens when you mess with technology or interfere with what nature has intended.
The characters of “Chucky” and the 1963 episode of “The Twilight Zones” called “Living Doll” are among the dozens of films and television shows devoted to dolls who get well, out of hand.
“M3GAN” – whose name stands for Model 3 Generative Android – is a smart new-generation version of dolls that are almost too smart for their own good. Their “intellect” is made possible by of the technology involved – it’s technology with which most viewers are familiar, and may even take for granted.
Amie Donald is the 12-year-old dancer who gives a star turn as the doll that was created to be a companion. And what better way to test M3GAN than to try her with a lonely girl named Cady (Violet McGraw)?
Allison Williams (“Get Out”) plays Gemma, creator of the doll. She has just become a guardian for Cady, who is her niece.
The more Cady interacts with M3GAN, the more M3GAN learns. You can see where this may be headed, but you won’t be able to anticipate everything.
TikTok star Jenna Davis provides M3GAN with just the right voice to make the doll’s attitude blood-chilling and empathetic by turns.
Remember the recent bonkers horror movie “Malignant?” Akela Cooper wrote both that enjoyable film and “M3GAN.”
This intelligent movie contains plenty of social commentary in its situations that also have their share of dark humor, especially – and you know this is coming – when M3GAN goes off the rails.
The final couple of seconds are an utter delight that made me laugh out loud.
At a time of year known for its traditional cinematic “January junk,” it’s a pleasure to see a creation that will have everybody talking …. just like its “star.”
3 ½ stars
Running time: One hour and 42 minutes.
Rated: PG-13 for foul language and violence.
At Cinemark, Davenport; Regal, Moline; and Palms 10, Muscatine.
Watch the trailer here.