Sommerleigh Pollonais, Senior Writer
Plot: In a post-apocalyptic world rocked by a violent android uprising a young pregnant woman and her boyfriend desperately search for safety.
Warning: Minor Spoilers Ahead
Review: Seeing how we’re now living in what feels like an apocalyptic event (sans zombies fighting, demon battles or ANTYHING fun) it makes sense that more and more of these post-apocalyptic movies have been popping up, the latest being the Chloë Grace Moretz (Kick-Ass, Let Me In, Hugo, Shadow of the Cloud) vehicle, Mother/Android.
So I’m going to do this review a bit different from my others; I’m going to break things down plot turn by plot turn, because there’s a lot that works here on its own, but as a whole story? Well, we’ll get to that.
The opening scene is of Moretz and her boyfriend Sam played by Algee Smith (The Hate U Give, Detroit) in a bathroom where she’s taken multiple pregnancy tests that show positive results. They then leave for a party where the house butler is serving the college-aged students. We quickly realise he’s not human but instead an artificial intelligence or android. Something happens and the obedient android quickly goes full Terminator and starts attacking the young adults. And as the scene goes outside we realise this event is taking place all over.
It’s the kind of opening I love, one where director Mattson Tomlin doesn’t waste time with a bunch of unnecessary exposition or narration. I wish more films would trust that their audience is smart enough to put the pieces together and just get to the meat of it all, and Mother/Android quickly establishes the culmination and ensuing chaos of its world.
We next catch up with Moretz as Georgia, or “G” as Sam affectionately calls her, as the couple are now forced to hide out in the woods but are still hopeful they can get to the last safe city. But first they seek safety with a group of soldiers at a makeshift base. Both actors work well together but it needs to be said Moretz carries the emotional weight of this entire film on her shoulders. I’ll readily admit it was difficult at first to picture the young actress as a mother but she absolutely delivers everything needed to bring this character to life. From her start as a young college student who is seriously considering terminating her pregnancy to a woman who fights with everything she’s made of to ensure not only her own survival but also that of the man she’s come to love and the child she’s expecting, Moretz fully embraces this character and is easily the strongest element of the movie.
Let’s jump forward to possibly the best action set piece of the entire film (and the only time the story feels like it’s infused with real energy) and that’s when Georgia and Sam decide to risk being detected by the androids (which happens) and use a motorcycle to get closer to their goal of a safe haven. Director Tomlin did a fantastic job of shooting this high-paced sequence that felt like a mash up of the Terminator 2 meets the forest chase scene in Return of the Jedi. With drones marking their location and actively trying to make them crash and androids unceasingly chasing them, this was the one time while watching Mother/Android where I found myself riveted to the screen. It’s a shame the movie didn’t have at least two more big set pieces like this, instead of lacklustre ones that come after.
The final scene I’ll talk about it is the one where Georgia is rescued by a stranger named Arthur played by Raul Castillo (Night Teeth, Looking). Castillo’s take on Arthur strikes the perfect balance between trustful and dangerous. You immediately get a sense you should be worried for Georgia, yet there’s also a sense he’s just a lonely and broken man. It works really well and even if you can predict what comes next Castillo still does a great job of keeping you off-kilter right up to the big reveal.
The conclusion gets points for having a couple twists, one I think we’ll all see coming and one I don’t think you would. While I think both scenes are fine on their own I just didn’t see them all as necessary. You see Mother/Android takes a page out of the Peter Jackson’s book of final acts and by that I mean we get not one, not two, not three but FOUR different conclusions to this story. Why four? I have no idea, but this film could’ve easily stopped after Georgia gave birth but instead decided to drag things out as much as possible. Yes one of these scenes are deeply emotional and allow for Moretz to shine but the truth is we could’ve closed things off with two of these and it would still work as a whole.
So for those of you that skipped ahead and just want to know where I stand with this sci-fi post-apocalyptic tale, I think Mother/Android has a great premise and with a couple of solid tense moments that I really enjoyed and could’ve made for a memorable sci-fi horror movie. The visuals of the androids endoskeleton was superbly done and are the stuff of nightmares and with a lead actress as talented as Chloë Grace Moretz this could’ve been very entertaining but sadly pacing issues, scenes that would grind things to a halt and an overall tale that is vastly similar to so many films of this genre we’ve seen before, there just isn’t enough here to raise Mother/Android to any other level but average.
Sommer’s Score: 5 out of 10
And you can check out more great Sci Fi content below:
Sommerleigh of the House Pollonais. First of Her Name. Sushi Lover, Queen of Horror Movies, Comic Books and Binge Watching Netflix. Mother of two beautiful black cats named Vader and Kylo. I think eating Popcorn at the movies should be mandatory, PS4 makes the best games ever, and I’ll be talking about movies until the zombie apocalypse comes.
Double Tap Baby!