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Don't Let The Dancing Fool You, M3gan Is A Disappointment {Review}

M3gan tries her hardest to dance into our hearts, and while she does her best, the film that introduces us to her is not very good. Don't get it twisted; the little AI girl is a delight, and whenever she is on screen, the film comes to life, only for it to die again as soon as they put her to sleep. Wooden, lifeless acting doesn't help, and what you end up with is a killer set of scenes to make an awesome trailer. It is sure to be a hit anyway; one hopes the sequel is better than this.

M3gan Is Only A Month Away, Here Is A New Trailer
Photo Credit: Universal Pictures. M3GAN in M3GAN directed by Gerard Johnstone. © 2023 UNIVERSAL STUDIOS. All Rights Reserved.

M3gan Deserves Better Than This

Traumatized by the death of her parents in an accident, Kady (Violet McGraw) is sent to live with her ill-prepared aunt Gemma (Allison Williams), who is a developer at a major toy company. Under pressure from her boss (Ronny Chieng) to give them a new version of their AI pet toy, she instead creates M3gan, a fully AI, self-learning robot, who she bonds to Kady to help her through her grief. Only M3gan learns a little too well and takes her programming to keep Kady safe at all costs a little too seriously. Violence and mayhem follow.

The failure here is not with M3gan herself but with the film around her. The first 40 minutes go by without her, and they are a chore to get through. Allison Williams has done great work in the past in Girls and Get Out, but here she seems content to just make a shocked face at everything and show little to no emotion. It is no fun to criticize kid actors, so we will leave it at McGraw's performance did little to impress. Chieng is fine if you enjoyed his Daily Show appearances, and the rest of the cast is just kind of there. During some of the scenes in the lab developing M3gan, they almost look like they are glancing at each other as if to say, "Now what?". And that is the biggest problem. They clearly had a great idea with M3gan, but they had no idea what to do to put a movie around her. The few times they try and take the story into interesting places, like a heartbreaking scene between Kady and M3gan about her parent's death, it is dropped quickly for a lame jump scare. The film plays almost beat for beat like the original Child's Play at times as well, surely something they wanted to avoid. The last twenty minutes would have Chucky laughing at the screen with how unoriginal it is.

M3gan Is Only A Month Away, Here Is A New Trailer
Photo Credit: Geoffrey Short/Universal Pictures. (from left) M3GAN, Gemma (Allison Williams), and Cady (Violet McGraw) in M3GAN, directed by Gerard Johnstone. © 2023 UNIVERSAL STUDIOS. All Rights Reserved.

The film is not without its merits; director Gerald Johnstone does a good job of creating a world where our new best friend can run amok. The film is funny, way funnier than it should be. This should have gone all the way and just been a dark comedy. And the doll herself is so great, played by Amie Donald and voiced by Jenna Davis. It is hard to decipher where the robot ends, and the performer is there. She jokes, is menacing, and will tug at your heartstrings. Hell, M3gan shows more emotion than any other character in the film. It is a problem when the only non-human character is the most human in the movie.

Producers Jason Blum and James Wan are about to embark on a long collaboration with Universal, and M3gan is the unofficial kickoff. It will make tons of money this weekend, and the trailer and marketing have been brilliant, but the uneven film they brought to us will not play for the long haul. Like Annabelle, another James Wan doll character, hopefully, the second M3gan film will be better.


M3gan Trailer Released, Blumhouse Film Out January 13th
Review by Jeremy Konrad

M3gan is a marvel herself, but the film surrounding her is uneven and lifeless. Let's hope the sequel will be better.

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Jeremy KonradAbout Jeremy Konrad

Jeremy Konrad has written about collectibles and film for almost ten years. He has a deep and vast knowledge of both. He resides in Ohio with his family.
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