M3GAN: Kind Of A Review?

Me, about six hours ago: Well, I want to do more full movie reviews in 2023, so I’m going to see that snazzy looking new horror flick M3GAN, and afterwards, I’ll be able to write a review on it.

Also me, as I walked out of M3GAN an hour ago: I have no fucking idea what I’m going to say about this movie because I barely saw it.

NOTE: THIS ARTICLE WILL CONTAIN SPOILERS FOR M3GAN, BUT ALSO A LOT OF OLD MAN “GET OFF MY LAWN” BITCHING. YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED.

Megan–do you mind if I just say Megan, it’s easier–Megan is… a movie that happened. I am sure of it! I sat in a theater for almost two hours, and the big screen at the front of the theater showed it. And yet, if you asked me for specifics on what happened in Megan or what any character said at any point, I would be at a loss as to explain much.

I went into Megan a little leery of the fact that it was a PG-13 horror movie. I thought it would be tame. Perhaps silly. It wouldn’t be able to fully embrace its potential for violence and bloodshed. The language would be neutered. There were many reasons to be afraid of the rating on Megan prior to my seeing it.

What I DIDN’T foresee was that Megan’s rating would bring out THE WORST MOVE THEATER CROWD IN THE HISTORY OF MOVIE THEATER CROWDS.

I’m not entirely sure where to start. Perhaps with the row behind me and to several seats to the right, whereupon a family with their two single-digit aged children! The family whose children had entire conversations at outside voice volume the entire movie. They argued over who got to use the phone they brought with them. They argued about who was going to die next. They argued over who got what bite of popcorn. At some point, they all got up to leave, and even though EVERY SINGLE ONE OF THEM bumped the back of my head as though they had never walked through a movie aisle before, I said “Thank Christ” because I thought they were leaving since their kids would not shut up.

But they weren’t leaving.

The ENTIRE FAMILY went to the restroom together.

And when they came back, they ALL BANGED AGAINST MY HEAD AGAIN. And continued their talking across the full runtime of the film.

But was that better or worse than the family directly behind me and just to the left? This was a father and his two kids, one single-digit aged, and the other slightly older. They… ALSO talked through much of the movie, though the dad DID tell his younger kid to be quiet a few times. Undeterred, that child found out that he could make a simply amazing noise with the straw and the lid from his drink. Like someone writing aggressively on a whiteboard. What a glorious symphony to watch Megan to that was!

Twice during the movie, the dad had to go to the restroom. Once with the younger child, who took great pleasure in stomping and jumping up and down the stairs to the exit. It was so much fun that upon his return from the restroom, the child was ahead of dear old dad and stomped all the way back up, and then all the way back down to meet his dad so he could stomp all the way back up again.

Not to be left out of the movie experience, dad asked his other kid what happened while he was gone. At normal speaking volume. And demanded an in-detail response. WHICH! At least made me laugh when the kid had to explain that Ronnie Cheung’s character died, but couldn’t figure out how to do that without describing his ethnicity, which he clearly thought better of since he was in his outside voice.

“What happened while I was gone?”

“Megan killed the David guy.”

“Who was that?”

“He was the…. (long pause)… that one guy. You know, that guy. The guy who was running the thing. Oh, the boss!”

Good save, kid.

Also, when the older kid had to use the restroom (seriously, do you people not go BEFORE the movie? This was like an hour and a half), dad yelled instructions to him as he got halfway down the stairs. So now I know it is imperative that the kid turn right. Turn RIGHT. Make sure you go to the RIGHT!

Then there were the two young women in front of us who paid to come see a movie and spend the entire time watching distracting TikTok’s on their phones. They were mostly quiet, though! Not entirely, but usually. So at least there was that.

And who could forget the person of undetermined location who not only did not have their silent (actually several people did not, and seriously… this isn’t even a movie theater thing… WHO HAS THEIR PHONE OFF SILENT IN 2023?), but answered it when it rang and had a full on conversation?

Lastly, shout out to the guy way down in the crappy seating rows who had his phone on the entire movie, and he kept making it make, like, a strobe light effect? For no reason I could figure out. Other than he thought the cinema plex was a rave? I mean… it might as well have been, all told. But a repeating strobe effect in a dark theater… that’s extremely helpful for movie watchin’! Well, Megan is about to strangle this employee and FLASHFLASHFLASHFLASHFLASH.

So, I mean… Megan was happening on the screen, but I feel like I caught about 45% of it all.

And you know what? Fine. It’s FINE. I have the AMC Stubs A-List, so it’s not like I paid to see Megan. I see movies for free. I plan on seeing A Man Called Otto tomorrow, and I can’t imagine THAT will have a similar crowd, but who knows? Those wild 50 year old Tom Hanks character study movie fans, you know?

I’d have been more outraged if I’d paid full price to see Megan, but as a free ticket? Sure. This will be one of those “Hey, do you remember that time we saw Megan?” stories my wife and I have forever. In two years, I’ll have forgotten Megan, but I’ll always know that that the bathroom is TO THE RIGHT.

This was very self-indulgent, I apologize. Just had… whew… just had to get it out of the system.

These people know their TVs at HOME have movies, too, right?


TWO UPS AND TWO DOWNS (THAT ARE ACTUALLY ABOUT THE MOVIE MEGAN, I PROMISE)

+I spent what time I could focus on the movie studying Megan herself and trying to discern if she was an actress with CGI, an actress with really good prosthetics, or full CGI. I could never figure it out. That’s impressive! I guess it turns out it was part CGI / part animatronics. But whatever it was, it had me fooled and constantly trying to figure it out. So at no point does Megan not look believable. The full array of effects and technology used to make her is glorious. Fantastic work to everybody involved in that part of the movie!

+More comments on Megan herself: everything about her works. She is funny, initimidating, creepy, and comforting. Whatever a scene needs her to be, the combination of effects and Jenna Davis’ voice work more than sold it. For the movie to work, it had to pass the test, and it more than did so. Her one-liners are funny, but she never feels like a parody of Chucky or Freddy. Her mannerisms are troubling.

And while I’m talking about performances, Allison Williams does an exceptional job as the stressed-out Gemma. She takes in her orphaned niece because she thinks she can do what’s best, but is quickly overwhelmed by the job. She ends up outsourcing her workload to a doll, and by the time she realizes she is ruining her niece, it’s become too late. I bought every aspect of her character.

-Have you ever watched a movie with really good trailers, then seen the movie and thought “Oh, they shot that scene JUST for the trailer”? That’s Megan. You have seen the weird hallway dance and the scene where she chases the boy on all fours if you watched the trailers. There are no great payoffs to those moments. There’s no reason why Megan would or does move like she does in any of those moments. She doesn’t have a big dance story, nor does she ever study four-legged predators. The director put those scenes in solely because they’d draw people in with the trailer. And they did! But aside from that, they are just pointless and kind of out of character.

-The premise behind Megan as a doll is “What if we gave a child a toy so good, they’d never need another toy?”. Sounds great! But if you are a toy company, isn’t that a TERRIBLE business model? Why would you sell your own obsolescence? I mean, the $10k price tag per doll is great for initial sales, but what happens ten years down the line? Or five? Or three? Isn’t this why Big Pharma works on managing diseases instead of curing them? Isn’t this why your vision insurance pays for glasses and eye exams, but not corrective surgery? How did anyone with a brain think this was a good idea in the long-term? And no one explains it as anything like “Well, we can sell supplemental material like _____” because the entire point of Megan is to constantly adapt and evolve. She doesn’t need external updates or anything. It’s a stupid, minor quibble, but it picked at my brain almost as much as the kids arguing about their phone.

I’m lying.

It didn’t bother me nearly as much as that.


OVERALL

I didn’t mention this in the Downs, but Cadey’s character arc felt undeserved here. She starts off as sympathetic, then turns into a co-dependent monster with Megan. But one extremely brief “It’s good to be sad” talk from Gemma in the third act, and she’s a great kid again. That felt rushed. But the other main characters were handled so well that I can bury that a bit for the sake of not drawing out a basic horror film to two-plus hours. What I could fully ingest of Megan seemed like a lot of fun. Megan herself is a great new character for horror lore, and if they want to make a Megan franchise? I’m all the way on board for Part 2. I just… might catch a matinee showing on a Sunday instead of a raucous Saturday night.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

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