Archetypes: Film: Review: ‘Morgan’ (2016)

20th Century Fox

20th Century Fox

Motherhood set against a wash of sophisticated biotechnology is the prevailing theme of Morgan, a futuristic thriller directed by Luke Scott. The title character with the sexually ambiguous name is Morgan (Anya Taylor-Joy), an “It” – a “hybrid autonomous organism” – which has been generated in a remote location by a dedicated tribe of corporate scientists. These folks exude atypical maternal behavior towards their charge, and it’s like one big happy family amidst the pines.

Despite their demonstrated affection for their teenage-appearing wunderkind (the group of scientists includes Rose Leslie, Michelle Yeoh, Toby Jones, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Vinette Robinson, Michael Yare and Chris Sullivan), the team occasionally gets the short end of the stick. That’s because Morgan’s operating system sometimes experience severe glitches, which trigger off extreme Mars-fueled reactivity and aggression: the film opens with the “It” attacking one of the caregivers.

The corporate honchos aren’t pleased with these aberrations – the company’s had a history of botched prototypes – and send in risk-management consultant Lee (Kate Mara) to collect data.

20th Century Fox

20th Century Fox

Not surprisingly, the scientists want to preserve the asset, as all good mothers would. Lee, who’s stiff, humorless, cold and unusually self-directed, isn’t so sure. “Is that what you need me to say? That I’m impressed?” says Lee to Morgan’s aficionados.

The film portrays Morgan as the wayward child who is self-aware enough to know when she does wrong and, on good days, to welcome the mothering Lunar archetype. The reality, one character sympathetically tells Morgan, is otherwise: “You have no mother. We have failed you.”

Lee, in contrast, is the anti-mother who represents the hard objective edge that scientific generators of life and their acolytes require to terminate what’s no longer viable.

Archetype: Mother.

Astrology Archetype: ☽ ♂ (Moon, Mars)


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