Splice (Blu-ray)

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Rating: R

Starring:
Adrien Brody as Clive Nicoli
Sarah Polley as Elsa Kast
Delphine Chanéac as Dren
Brandon McGibbon as Gavin Nicoli
Simona Maicanescu as Joan Chorot
David Hewlett as William Barlow
Abigail Chu as Child Dren

Directed by Vincenzo Natali

Special Features:
A Director’s Playground: Vincenzo Natali On The Set Of Splice – Zoom In On The Innovative Filmmaker Of The Global Cult Sensation Cube As He And His Creative Team Explore New Motivating Territory

Includes DVD Copy Of Splice

Includes Digital Copy Of Splice For Portable Media Players

Other Info:
Widescreen (1.78:1)
DTS-HD MA 5.1 Sound
Spanish Subtitles
Spanish Language
Running Time: 104 Minutes

The Details:
The following is the official description of the film:

“Superstar genetic engineers Clive (Adrien Brody) and Elsa (Sarah Polley) specialize in splicing DNA from different animals to create incredible new hybrid that could revolutionize science and medicine. But when the pharmaceutical company that funds their research forbids it, they secretively take their experiment underground – risking their careers to push the boundaries of science and serve their own curiosity and ambition. The result is Dren, who exceeds their wildest dreams – and threatens to become their worst nightmare.”

“Splice” is rated R for disturbing elements including strong sexuality, nudity, sci-fi violence and language

Mini-Review:
When I first saw the ads for “Splice”, I figured it was just a rip-off of “Species.” After all, they both had sexy monster chicks killing people. And while that certainly is an element of “Splice” and the comparisons are accurate to a degree, it has more in common with “Frankenstein” than anything else. This is a modern retelling of the story and I think it’s what Mary Shelly would have written if she had done it today.

“Splice” tackles the topic of mad science in the realm of genetic engineering. It has the classic themes of a creator abusing his creation. It tackles the topic of morality and science. How far should science go for the sake of progress? Where should the line be drawn in the pursuit of knowledge? Do the ends justify the means? It also deals with the question of experimenting with human DNA. At what point does an experiment turn into a human being? This movie should be required viewing for anyone studying ethics in medical research.

But “Splice” goes deeper into that. It’s a character drama about dysfunctional parents and their relationships with their children. It deals with psychological trauma of abused kids. It features the dynamics of a couple discovering that they have different morals. The drama intensifies as Dren goes from young child to rebellious teenager to womanhood (and beyond). This story has as much character exploration as it has scientific commentary.

The acting in “Splice” is excellent. Adrien Brody is good as Clive Nicoli. He’s the one reluctantly pulled into the experimentation. He’s tortured as he keeps regretting going along with creating Dren, yet he’s shocked at what he does as he reacts to the situation. Sarah Polley is also good Elsa Kast. She is equally convincing whether she’s acting like a proud mother or a detached scientist. Delphine ChanĂ©ac is also good as Dren. She has little to no dialogue, but her physical performance combined with the eerie CG effects makes her quite memorable. You feel sympathetic with her, yet repulsed and even scared of her at times. It was good using a real actress rather than having a 100% CG character.

“Splice” does have some problems. There are a lot of incestuous scenes that are unsettling and didn’t really help the plot. These help unravel some of the last quarter of the film. It also takes it into the realm of being a bit silly. I also think the trailers showed way too much of the plot. I knew how most of this movie was going to play out based on the trailer alone. The less you know about it going in, the better off you are.

I’d recommend this movie to anyone that’s a fan of “Frankenstein” or sci-fi movies that cover ethics in experimentation and research. Fans of “Species” should enjoy this as well.

The Blu-ray is surprisingly light on bonus features. There’s only one 30-minute documentary covering the director Vincenzo Natali. You do get some behind-the-scenes footage and interviews with the crew, but it doesn’t cover stuff you’d like to see like the creature effects, make-up, CG, etc. There are no bonus feature standards like deleted scenes, commentaries, bloopers, etc.

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