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Megan Review, Part 3

If you’re looking for a mind-numbing popcorn flick to pass the time, Megan is worth watching. 

In the previous review, Megan began her killing spree, but Gemma quickly figured out there was a problem with the robot and took her back to her lab. Cady was distraught about the loss of her favorite toy, but Gemma still brought the girl to the lab and made Cady talk with a social worker. Afterward, she and Cady had a heartfelt discussion about the loss of the child’s parents.

Gemma takes Cady home. Meanwhile, the assistants bring Megan down to the lab, but the robot escapes. Megan makes a B-line for Gemma’s house, but along the way, she encounters Gemma’s employer, David. She quickly kills the boss and his assistant before stealing a car.

David was a rather unlikable fellow, so his death is supposed to be something of a comeuppance; however, I couldn’t help but think the murder of David and his assistant was going to cause major problems for Gemma. When Megan killed the neighbor, the dog, and the bully, she was never seen committing the crimes, so although, Gemma was suspicious of the robot, there was no way to prove anything. But now, the robot has been roaming the halls. Megan is going to be seen on all the security cameras using a paper cutter as a machete. The movie tried to brush this problem away by mentioning that the assistant had been stealing company secrets and the robot had made up a story where the assistant was caught and murdered his boss out of desperation, but I felt this was a sloppy way to deal with the issue. The writers never explain how the robot intended to frame the assistant, and unless Megan hacked the whole building, and somehow, wiped her image from all the cameras, everyone is going to know she killed the two men. Technically, Megan is Gemma’s equipment which might make Gemma liable for such a major malfunction. Regardless of what happens at the end of the film, I’m not sure there’s going to be a sequel unless the second movie begins with Gemma in jail.

For now, Gemma has to survive the first movie, which could be difficult since Megan is on her way. Gemma puts Cady to bed, thinking everything is all right. The robot is down at the lab, and all her problems can wait until morning. Unfortunately, Megan shows up and the two begin a conversation. This exchange is telling because it implies that the writers intended for Megan to experience her awakening toward the beginning of the film. In the previous reviews, I mentioned that the writers seemed to be playing with two ways to explain how the robot turned psychotic. The first possibility was that Megan was beginning to question her existence earlier in the film and her motherly affection toward Cady was just an act. The second possibility was that the fail-safes Gemma had programmed malfunctioned when the robot was attacked by the neighbor’s dog. The first scenario raised questions. The second scenario kept everything coherent. However, the writers seem to prefer the former option. During Megan and Gemma’s conversation, we see that the robot remembers Gemma programming different things into her. She remembers being built. Gemma even apologizes for not programming her properly, but Megan denies that Gemma’s program is the problem.

After this discussion, the two fight, and it looks like Megan is going to win the day until Cady enters the room and activates another robot Gemma had built named Bruce. She uses Bruce to rip Megan in half, but the robot doesn’t die. It crawls towards Cady and the girl orders Megan to shut off, but the robot says that won’t work because she has a new primary user: herself.

However, before the robot can kill Cady, Gemma saves the little girl, and the fight continues. Finally, Cady stabs Megan with a screwdriver. Once Megan shuts down, Gemma and Cady leave the house just as the cops show up. Then a smaller robot sitting on the kitchen counter, an AI assistant Gemma had built, watches them go, making us wonder if Megan is really dead.

Before giving my final thoughts on the movie, I want to touch on the two competing theories the writers might’ve used to explain how Megan turned evil because it’s a good example of a single plot point unraveling an entire film. If Megan had been broken during the dog attack, then all the anomalies could have been easily explained. We see a clear turning point in the story, a moment where the protective programming given to Megan might’ve malfunctioned, making the robot violent. But if Megan was awake even when Gemma was first building her, then we have a number of problems. The following is a list of questions I’m using to make the point. Sadly, the longer you sit and think about the story, the longer the list grows.

First, when exactly did Megan wake up? Why did she wake up? Is there something special about the chip serving as her brain? But if the chip alone was enough to wake Megan up, how many other awakened robots are out there? Furthermore, if the robot was awake at the beginning of her construction, then why wasn’t she destroyed when the robot literally exploded after a failed demonstration near the beginning of the film? Did Gemma have to order a new chip? How did Megan remember Gemma first creating her if the robot had been destroyed once already? How did Megan override the protective programming Gemma put in? Also, why couldn’t we see the moment when the robot first realized its own existence, and why did the discovery of its existence force the robot to become violent? And if the robot was awake the entire time, why didn’t it run away? What made it want to stay with Gemma and Cady? If it sees Gemma as a friend because the woman built her, why did Megan come to hate Gemma and undermine her in front of Cady? Why weren’t Megan’s feelings towards Gemma explored in the first place?

The idea that Megan had awakened before she met Cady completely destroys the continuity of the film. I suspect somebody caught this problem, which was why a spark was added to the robot’s neck during the dog attack in post-production. Obviously, I can’t say for sure. But it wouldn’t surprise me, because the second scenario, the idea that Megan is broken rather than awakened, fixes all these problems. As long as the possibility exists that Megan malfunctioned during the incident, then there’s a chance the robot is simply lying.

Let me be clear; this is not a coherent film, but Megan’s redeeming quality is that it’s self-aware…mostly. Again, the scene at the beginning of the movie where the parents were killed really clashed with the campy nature of the story. But the commercials are fun, the horror scenes have all the cliché tropes, and if you’re looking for a mind-numbing popcorn flick to pass the time, Megan is worth watching. 

Gary Varner

Gary Varner is the Assistant to the Managing and Associate Directors at the Center for Science & Culture in Seattle, Washington. He is a Science Fiction and Fantasy enthusiast with a bachelor’s degree in Theater Arts, and he spends his time working with his fellows at Discovery Institute and raising his daughter who he suspects will one day be president of the United States. For more reviews as well as serial novels, go to www.garypaulvarner.com to read more.

Megan Review, Part 3