Archive (Movie 2020)

Archive2 Kernels

Now streaming on Amazon, a newly released movie you can rent for $6.99 since you cannot see it in the theatre (thanks to Covid19). The only reason I tuned into this science fiction fantasy flick was to see Theo James, having gone gaga over him in Sanditon, wearing a cravat.

I usually like robot movies, and there have been a few good ones over the years. The most recent Humans (3 seasons); Short Circuit; I, Robot; Wall-E; Bicentennial Man (some of my favs), and if you need a list try this article, “The 100 Greatest Movie Robots of All Times.”  Well, Archive has your robots, with a semi-familiar trope of dying and you’re “consciousness” being downloaded onto a computer chip.  It’s been done in a few other movies, with the hopes of immortality.

Archive is just that. A person dies and their conscious essence is transferred into a machine whereby the family can continue to communicate with the dead person for a period of time.  Apparently, this version of transfer has a shelf life. Eventually it fades, and you still are forced to say your final goodbye.

Meet George Almore, played by Theo James, the computer robot-maker geek, who has his wife’s archive in a black box. He works for a company that makes robots, so why not use the tools he has to develop one that can house his dead wife eternally. He has made two versions already, each growing only so far, taking on a life of their own.  One has the mental capacity of a five-year-old and the other a teenager.  Now on version number three, she is more life-like, fully conscious, and he’s the happy camper to have her return. He gives her a humanoid body, clothing, hair, and he’s dancing around the complex with the reincarnation. Frankly, it would have been a lot better for the guy to go through the stages of grief and get over it rather than go through everything he has to try and recreate his wife.

Theo James has very little action with anyone breathing in this movie.  It’s definitely played out in the future, with high tech. He is held up in the mountains of Japan in a secure facility doing these things all alone, with his two first versions as companionship. He interacts with them in a loving fashion, because after all that have an itsy-bitsy part of his dead wife but they are not the full capacity he wishes. You will see clips of flashbacks of his former life with his wife and how she dies in a car crash.

Sound is a bit iffy in this movie, and trying to understand the robots with their tin-like voices can be a chore. There is a bit of mystery surrounding the security system that is always down, his ranting boss who comes on video chat, and a strange visit by the Archive people to check on the black box.

It’s the ending that will gobsmack you, and frankly, I didn’t see it coming until he picks up that receiver and he hears a certain voice. SPOILER ALERT: Think of the ending as a mix of the Sixth Sense and the Matrix.

Well, the movie is okay. Nothing for me to rant about. I’m not blown away by it. I should give it a three for Theo’s good looks, but the popcorn was pretty plain and the tropes recycled.