Movie Review: The Adam Project

A few nights ago I found out at the last minute that the older kids wanted to watch a movie with Denisa and me. Yay for that, but when I know I need to pick something quickly, I can go into a bit of a decision lock. So many choices, and it feels like it’s up to me to find something everyone will like, despite all their different tastes. I dithered for a while, and finally just picked the first thing that came up that looked remotely good. The Adam Project is a Netflix movie by Shawn Levy (of Stranger Things fame). It had a 6.7 on IMDB, so I hit play.

The premise starts out pretty solid. A man from 2050 travels back in time to try and prevent a catastrophe. Plenty of room for cool in that, right? His spaceship is somehow “DNA locked,” which means it will only fly if he’s in it and he has “healthy DNA.” And since he got shot in his escape from the future, somehow that makes it so his DNA isn’t healthy. (Yes, this is strange. They could have just gone with “you need to be totally healthy and not going to die anytime soon to be able to fly,” but I guess DNA sounded cooler?) In any case, he finds his younger 12 year old self, who has the same DNA and is (you guessed it) healthy, and he ropes him into coming with him so he can fly his ship.

And to save the future, they have to make sure their dad’s research in the even-further-past gets messed up, since their dad invented time travel. Granted, the premise of the plot is getting thinner and thinner the farther along we go, but hey! Time travel! This could still be cool, right?

Unfortunately not. My biggest complaint with the movie is that it played so loose with the science when it was convenient, only to use it as the “deus ex wrench” when it needed problems to come up for plot reasons. Characters kept talking about how dangerous it was to have people travel back in time and interact with their past selves, except we see zero evidence of that at all, and they keep doing it again and again and again, except when they decide they can’t, because reasons. Case in point? Toward the end, we’re supposed to believe that even with all of the shenanigans that have gone on, a character is still going to die in the future because of a car accident. That makes absolutely no sense. The amount of circumstances that have to come together to have someone be in a car accident are astronomical. Even if they’re five seconds late or early, they miss that accident.

Ugh.

Beyond the loosey goosey science is the plot, which felt very paint by number. It’s got the time travel stuff, and then it jams in the heart warming father/son/past self vibes. You could almost see the Mad Libs they were working with in the script. The characters are by and large cookie cutter as well. Look! Ryan Reynolds playing . . . Ryan Reynolds. (Is he just the same character all the time now? Because that’s what it feels like. Daniela says he’s always cast as Buddy the Elf, and she’s not really wrong.) 12 year old kid playing . . . 12 year old Ryan Reynolds! Mark Ruffalo playing . . . Bruce Bannister! Except no Hulk.

In the end, I was quite disappointed by the movie. It was one way to spend two hours of my life, but it wasn’t a particularly engrossing way. It’s a big let down, because with the budget and the premise, they could have done much more. But instead, they have this. 3/10 Feel free to miss it.

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