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'Morgan' Blu-ray Review: Not quite an experiment in terror, but not a failed experiment either

January 5, 2017Ben MK

A living legend of cinema, director Ridley Scott has given moviegoers such sci-fi classics as Alien, Blade Runner and, most recently, The Martian. Now, Scott's son, Luke, is following in his father's footsteps with his feature debut, Morgan, a film that itself follows in the footsteps of movies like Species, Splice and Ex Machina.

Like those films, Morgan is a story about man playing God — and the dire consequences that arise out of it — that's told from the point-of-view of a woman named Lee Weathers (Kate Mara), who bears the mysterious title of risk management consultant. Employed by a genetics corporation called SynSect, Lee has been quietly dispatched to one of the company's remote, off-site research facilities to investigate a disturbing incident involving its latest hybrid biological organism, an L-9 prototype its creators have affectionately dubbed Morgan (The Witch's Anya Taylor-Joy).

Suffice to say, the film presents itself as a sci-fi horror/thriller; and so, naturally, the situation that results does not bode well for the small group of misguided scientists who find themselves caught in the middle (among them, Michelle Yeoh, Toby Jones and Game of Thrones' Rose Leslie). Scripted by Seth W. Owen, a good portion of the movie is fairly predictable in nature, meaning that if you've seen any of the aforementioned three films that Morgan is modeled after, you already have a pretty good idea of how things will inevitably unfold.

That being said, the filmmakers do throw a few surprises at moviegoers along the way, one of which is the layer of ambiguity the narrative casts on the motivations of its characters (Lee and Morgan in particular). It's something that will keep viewers guessing till the very end; and, coupled with the strong performances from the cast (which also includes Paul Giamatti, Jennifer Jason Leigh and Narcos' Boyd Holbrook) and the healthy dose of bloody violence that's become a norm for the genre, it helps ensure that Morgan doesn't end up a failed experiment.

Morgan debuts on Blu-ray with a slick 1080p transfer, and the results are quite watchable indeed. The image quality here is crisp and crystal-clear, and details are resolved with the finest precision, from the fuzzy texture of Morgan's grey hoodie to graphics on computer displays. Likewise, contrast and color saturation are generally robust, and even though a great deal of the film's color palette is comprised of neutral shades of greys, teals and the like, splashes of red blood and deep green foliage tend to stand out. As for the DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1 sound mix, it remains more or less low key for the film's first half, which is mostly dialogue-driven, but comes to life during the climactic final act, thanks to the sounds of gunshots, screams, crunching metal and shattering glass.

Fox's two-disc Blu-ray combo pack includes an iTunes/UltraViolet digital copy, a DVD and the following Blu-ray extras:

  • Modified Organism: The Science Behind Morgan (19:40) - Director Luke Scott, Producer Ridley Scott and experts in the fields of genetics, bioethics, biochemistry and molecular biology, and cellular and molecular medicine talk about the human genome project, gene editing, neurodegeneration, synthetic biology and the future of genetic engineering, as well as how the film touches on the aspects of real-life research.
  • Deleted Scenes (6:03) - Five scenes, viewable with optional audio commentary by Director Luke Scott ("It Is Not a Child," "This Is a Beech," "A Friend?," "Face On a Fork" and "Extended Study Fight").
  • Loom (Short Film) (20:27) - Giovanni Ribisi stars in this futuristic short, which is viewable with optional audio commentary by Director Luke Scott.
  • Audio Commentary by Luke Scott - The director talks about filming in Northern Ireland, the production schedule, the VFX, the editing, the performances, the set design, the score, the cinematography and more.
  • Gallery - A selection of 43 production stills from the movie.
  • Trailers (4:07) - Two trailers ("Teaser Trailer" and "Theatrical Trailer").

Morgan is available from 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment as of December 13th, 2016. The Blu-ray features English DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1, Spanish and French Dolby Digital 5.1, and English Dolby Digital 5.1 Descriptive Audio tracks. The film is presented with English SDH, Spanish and French subtitles. The total runtime is 1 Hr. 32 Mins.

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