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Has Anyone Even Heard of “Self/less”?

One of the trailers that played before Avengers: Age of Ultron this weekend was a psychological science fiction thriller starring Ryan Reynolds, Matthew Goode, and Ben Kingsley called Self/less. The trailer, which can be seen here, is intriguing, but may reveal too much of the plot for my liking. Kingsley plays a billionaire genius stricken with a terminal disease. He is contacted by a mad scientist type (Goode) who gives him the chance to transfer his consciousness into a younger body (Reynolds). This is cool for a while, until he learns that his old body wasn’t just some empty vessel. The old consciousness starts to creep back in, and he learns that this procedure has some nefarious drawbacks. Hopefully there is a little more nuance to the story than just the younger consciousness fighting back, because the concept of feeling your own consciousness being replaced by another could be a great dramatization of dealing with death. There are definitely some cool ideas here, and I would like to see how they are developed.

When I first saw this trailer, I was excited enough to look into the film more seriously. I was amazed that this trailer was the first I was hearing about this movie, which looks like an interesting, original science fiction concept – i.e., not a comic book or reboot. It was originally scheduled to release in February of this year, but has been delayed at least twice. Now, the film is set to release the same weekend as Mission Impossible 5, so I don’t think it will end up doing too well. But, the fact that the studio decided to rescue Self/less from the dregs of February and give it a summer release could be a sign of confidence, so it is hard to tell which direction to go with that news. Personally, I am not too keen on Tarsem Singh, the director. He is most recently known for movies like Immortals and Mirror/Mirror, but he debuted with the freaky J-Lo vehicle The Cell. While The Cell is not a perfect movie by any estimation, but it does have an interesting aesthetic and was sufficiently weird and creepy, so hopefully his new film follows in those footsteps.

I have a bit of a soft spot for Ryan Reynolds. I find the acerbic wit that he instills in most of his characters very funny and humanizing (I am really excited for Deadpool, for example). I even enjoyed The Green Lantern more than it probably deserved. Reynolds alone is probably enough to keep me interested to the point of seeing the film, but that may not be the case for those who find him annoying or over-played. My expectations have lowered since originally seeing the trailer, but I would still like to keep Self/Less on my radar for the middle of July, and I encourage you do the same. I made a mistake ignoring a recent original science fiction story with strange marketing and weird pre-production stories (Edge of Tomorrow, which I will post a review of tomorrow, ironically), so I plan to give this one a chance over the more derivative installments of old franchises.

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Derek Jacobs

Chicago,IL 60606

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