Sunday, June 6, 2010
Splice: Hybrid vigor to the extreme!
I learned some amazing things from the movie Splice that I thought readers of the MT would want to know. Here goes.
1. Scientists have god-like skills, but no common sense.
Movie Lesson: In order to make a Hollywood movie about genetics here is what you need to do: Have your hip, young, attractive, brilliant scientists-slash-lovers know how to do everything and anything that has to do with biology or chemistry in a lab—quantum to organism—including (and this is the whole point of the film) how to create a living breathing VertebrateStew-Human hybrid.
Except, make it so those brilliant young scientists can't tell whether their monster is dead.
Life Lesson: The universe hates moral and ethical lapses just as much as when you forget the fundamentals.
2. Humans have powerful DNA and it's completely unique.
Movie Lesson: When you’re just splicing together the genomes of a bunch of nonhuman vertebrate species, the result is a blobby appendage-less mass of writhing veiny flesh. Basically what you get is a 30-pound eyeless blobfish impersonating a caterpillar. [The pros can do this better than me: Time.com’s Mary Pols described the blobs as, “what might happen if an elephant foot and a freestanding penis could reproduce.”]
However, when our lab-coated Adam and Eve team adds human DNA to this genomic cocktail, guess what happens? Forbidden Fruit Cocktail: arms, fingers, legs, toes, ears, roughly 1300 ml between those ears, rudimentary language skills, come-hither peepers, perky breasts, forehead cleavage, a pointed tongue, a stinging tail, etc, etc…
Life Lesson: Humans and their powerful DNA are “completely unique.” (To borrow a cringe-worthy phrase, albeit out of context, that was uttered in the movie.)
3. Ontogeny recapitulates the Great Chain of Being.
Movie Lesson: Exploit common misunderstandings about evolution in order to appeal to the general audience which is assumed to hold those misunderstandings . For example, in two separate scenes, talk about your monster “evolving” rapidly through its development from a ginormous air-breathing tadpole to a fierce, and *fierce*, angel.
Life Lesson: Real evolution isn’t exciting enough for the masses, but antiquated and misguided assumptions about evolution are absolutely captivating! Also, 21st century Americans aren’t satisfied unless there is a healthy undercurrent of Old Testament balanced out by a healthy overture of S-E-X.
If you enjoy attending the kind of movie where the outro earns peals of absurd laughter, ironic applause, and outbursts like, “What the *expletive* was that?” then I recommend you see Splice.