The Adam Project is better when it’s not a sci-fi action-adventure

The Adam Project shines when it’s not a sci-fi action-adventure film and instead focuses on the emotional beats between Adam and his family.

WARNING: The following contains spoilers for The Adam Project, now available on Netflix

The Adam Project was deliberately designed with a sense of nostalgia for the production. The look and feel of the film harks back to an era that produced classics like Back to the future and The Goonies, merged with a standard action/sci-fi movie. But one of these aspects works much better than the other. The Adam ProjectThe sci-fi elements may be the plot’s driving force, but it’s far from the film’s greatest strength: the emotional pounding between time-displaced Adam (Ryan Reynolds) and his family of the past, with those elements that stand out. much better than the show.

The film is largely inspired by science fiction and action beats, although The Adam ProjectThe overall plot of is probably its most forgettable aspect. Set in a future where time travel has been perfected through the work of Louis Reed (Mark Ruffalo). Using time travel, the future version of Maya Sorian (Catherine Keener) is able to give her young self the key advice to transform her into one of the most powerful business owners in the world – and him. give great control over the time app. Travel. But her machinations led to a decimated Earth, leading one of her agents, Laura (Zoe Saldaña), and then her husband Adam to venture into the past in an attempt to prevent this potential timeline. It’s largely forgettable, and while Maya’s inner conflict is teased, it’s never fully explored in the film.

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Although well directed, The Adam ProjectThe sci-fi/action sections are the least interesting elements of the film. It quickly becomes techno-babbling to set up cool fights with soldiers from the future and plays out as one would expect. The bad guys are stopped, time travel is destroyed, and the world is saved. These are not the elements of The Adam Project it really works. The film shines when it instead focuses on the Reed family and their interpersonal issues. In the present day, young Adam (Walker Scobell) and his mother Ellie (Jennifer Garner) are still grappling with the death of Louis a few years prior – a lingering trauma that remains a problem for the adult Adam. When the film slows down, it allows Reynolds to instill bittersweet feelings of regret in Adam.

During a moment when Adam finds his mother drinking at a local bar, he talks about his own issues and – while avoiding telling her his true identity – tearfully explains that his son really loves him and would respond to his openness. about her pain instead of trying to be a rock solid support system and nothing else. Likewise, Adam’s eventual conversations with Louis and his younger self expose a man who still needs a lot to process the twists and turns his life has given him. The movie focuses on those little moments best, highlighting emotional beats like Adam’s unconscious decision to focus only on his father’s faults out of lingering anger over his death. This is not a coming-of-age film for young Adam, but a moving film for adult Adam.

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It’s a surprisingly mature concept to tackle for a family film like this, with young Adam getting to see firsthand what holding back his anger and grief instead of overcoming them will do to him. While young Adam repeatedly seems to look up to his older brother, there are times – particularly a genuine conversation they have before making a last ditch effort to destroy time travel – where he almost seems to pity the genre. person he will become. This realization helps the older Adam process his emotions and prepare for a truly thrilling ending where the Adams and their father play wrestling while waiting for the timeline to mend and return them to their own time.

It’s those moments where the movie hits the Amblin style that it clearly echoes and where the movie really shines. The Adam Project is most exciting when it actually departs from the basic action material and focuses on the unique emotional moments made possible by unlikely circumstances.

To see Amblin’s influence for yourself, check out The Adam Project, out now on Netflix

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