Tonight I took my family to see M3ghan, a new sci-fi/horror movie. It’s really a modern take on the Frankenstein story. A female toy engineer conceptualizes and engineers a doll programmed with artificial intelligence that eventually evolves into self-awareness. The doll’s link to the web gives it access to a wealth of knowledge but a dearth of wisdom. As it develops more knowledge, self-awareness becomes selfishness. The result is prioritization of self above all others. This gives M3ghan a license to kill, both out of self-preservation and out of revenge.
The link I saw to Frankenstein? The Frankenstein movies of the 30s (with Boris Karloff) dealt with similar themes of the relationship between human creator and artificially-created creature. The key similarity is how this creator’s selfish motives for success in the world of science cause him to neglect his creature, leaving this monster-in-the making to make increasingly dire mistakes without correction. THIS creature, however, while wandering aimlessly in the wild, encounters a blind hermit whose faith in God tells him that this creature was sent as a companion. One of the first words the hermit teaches this speechless creature is “friend.” The hermit also models for the creature his first lesson in prayer, as the hermit thanks God for this gift. Of course, this beautiful moment doesn’t last long. The next day, hunters happen upon this pair, recognize the creature as a monster, shoot him and “save” the hermit. The story doesn’t end well for Karloff’s creature, but at least he was exposed to the concept of a Creator who cares.
We can also sense echoes of the Adam and Eve lesson about how humanity’s desire for knowledge sidetracked its encounter with the Creator’s wisdom–until He joined us in the flesh as Jesus.
Meghan is a good movie, but in my fantasy remake of it, I would have rewritten the last 15 minutes by reprogramming Meghan’s knowledge—infusing it with wisdom. In the movie, this artificially intelligent doll goes on a killing spree based on its programming for self-preservation. At a few points in its confrontations with humans, it learns how to take the Lord’s name in vain and shouts “Jesus Christ” in anger a few times. In my remake of the ending, as soon as it says this name, its processor would automatically do a deep dive into the wisdom of the prophets and the saints, and of course Jesus and the gospels. In the process, it would learn the concept of loving someone else as itself, as well as the connection to making sacrifices for someone else’s greater good. It would also learn the concept of repentance for its past sins (murder chief among them), erase its past, and finally commit itself to helping humans reprogram themselves as this newly-wise creature learned to do.
Not sure this would sell tickets at the 21st century box offices of this world, but maybe within 80 years or so it would achieve classic status—just as Karloff’s wisdom-infused Frankenstein series of the 1930s did.