Man, oh man, oh Gemini Man. Where do we even start? I guess I’ll start with the very self-serious and techno-garbled rendition of “Forever Young,” which is just the worst song choice I’ve heard for a trailer in forever. I don’t know if it’s the birds flying during action sequences, the ridiculousness of it all, or what, but this feels like Face/Off for the 21st Century. It’s just all so very weird. I love Face/Off, by the way, so that’s not necessarily a knock against Gemini Man, but the tone this trailer gives me is very much not the one I’m sure Ang Lee and company were aiming for.
I’m just going to put it out here that the digital de-aging of Will Smith does not work for me. It looks good but still falls deep into the Uncanny Valley. I look at him and all I see is Battle Angel Alita crossed with Fresh Prince of Bel Air, and no sir I don’t like it.
Is there something so wrong with just getting a younger actor? This is countless layers of unnecessary. Sure, it was a tough sell for me to believe that Joseph Gordon-Levitt was a young Bruce Willis in Looper, even with all the makeup, but I at least believed he was a human being. In this case, I will never be able to get past this computer generated bullshit and see young Smith as anything other than the technical shenanigans that created him. This gives me very little hope for the digital facelifts Robert De Niro and Al Pacino will receive for The Irishman.
Also worth noting is that Will Smith is pure cardboard in this trailer. He’s not digging nearly enough for me to buy this nonsense. When he says, “You made a person out of another person,” it gives me less of a grappling-with-the-implications-of-cloning vibe than a just-now-figuring-out-how-babies-work one.
I know that Ang Lee is mostly interested in pushing the technical abilities of film, and that’s admirable in its own way, but this concept needed more time and consideration. I suppose it’s a hell of a novelty that will get butts in seats. I can’t say that I’m not curious to see this for myself--but not in theaters. I can wait.
Gemini Man, for what it’s worth, is about Henry Borgman, an assassin who is apparently the best in the world (aren’t all movie assassins) who then faces a mysterious young man who seems able to predict and best him--and that operative turns out to be a twenty-five-year-old clone of himself! Outside of the CGI work, none of this is really new or exciting, but it could make for a fun midnight movie provided it’s as outrageous as it looks. No matter what, there’s always an inherent entertainment value to Will Smith chucking a motorcycle at himself. Maybe that’s a metaphor for his career up to this point? I don’t know.
We can all experience this slice of weird for ourselves when Gemini Man hits theaters on October 11, 2019.