TL;DR – To prevent a dystopian future, Adam time travels to the past to alter the future by destroying the creation of time travel. Yeah, don’t think about it too much.
Review (warning: spoilers)
Storyline aside, The Adam Project is a Ryan Reynolds vehicle, so if you enjoy his schtick then you won’t be disappointed. Reynolds is typecast and delivers his one-liners in a way that borders on boring for the actor. There are moments where you feel that he is going through the motions knowing the formula works, but one will wonder if he secretly desires a role that is far removed from his comic persona.
The added bonus for those who enjoy Reynolds humour is he plays an adult Adam who time travels into the past and ends up working with a 12-year old version of himself (played by Walker Scobell). Scobell does an admirable job of delivering his smart mouth dialogue in the same way as Reynolds. The chemistry between the pair is evident and results in an enjoyable albeit nothing-earth-shattering adventure.
The story runs similar lines to other time travelling films such as Back to the Future and Terminator. In 2050, the world has turned into a technological nightmare ruled by Maya Sorian (Catherine Keener). Adam travels back in time to try and save his wife, Laura (Zoe Saldana), who apparently died on a mission in 2018. Adam is chased by Sorian only to end up in 2022, not 2018.
There he encounters his 12-year old self and his mother, Ellie Reed (Jennifer Garner). Both are mourning, in their own way, Adam’s scientist father, Louis Reed (Mark Ruffalo) who had died recently in a car accident.
What adult Adam discovers is that Sorian has messed with time by going back into the past herself to guarantee she will obtain full control over the time travelling technology. Laura had also discovered Sorian’s manipulations and Sorian wants her dead. And while Laura prevents any assassination attempt on her life, she ends up being stranded in the past due to her time travelling ship being destroyed.
Laura tells Adam that he needs to jump back to 2018 and destroy the time travelling technology, which just so happens had been invented by Adam’s scientist father, Louis. More time jumps occur, Louis helps both Adams in preventing Sorian achieving ultimate control and together they successfully destroy the technology. The dystopian future never occurs and both Adams magically disappear and return to their original times.
The emotional pull is meant to be within the Reed family. Relationship angst between young Adam and her mother, adult Adam and his father, and even between adult Adam and young Adam as the pair play psychologist for each other throughout the film. Love, sacrifice, and forgiveness are the eventual lessons learned and required in order to heal from any pent up pain and hurt from Louis’s death.
The CGI and action is glossy and well done though feels it is there to satisfy the action fans. The lightsaber-that-is-not-a-lightsaber used by adult Adam in a variety of creative ways to defeat his enemies is probably the highlight in terms of action sequences. The time travelling spaceships and chases are less so.
Sadly, Garner, Ruffalo and Saldana are seriously underused and Keener’s Sorian is painfully one-dimensional as the technology tyrant that wants to the rule the world (why? because a younger Sorian chose to give up any attempt at finding love or develop meaningful relationships, so the only path for her was tyrannical leader of the world… makes sense, right?)
Like I said, this is a Ryan Reynolds vehicle, so it lives and dies with him. Walker Scobell does showcase his acting skills and will be one to watch in future films. But other than these two, the supporting cast is wasted.
A light and airy sci-fi affair that has laughs for the Reynolds fans, a story that isn’t earth-shattering and action that won’t have the blood pumping.
5 out of 10