Ben’s Breakdown | “The Adam Project” May Be Sci-Fi Fluff, But It Also Has Tremendous Heart!
Imagine living in the future and you go on the run from your own people. You travel back in time to correct an event that will save your future, and your only ally is your 12-year-old self.
Using time travel to change past events is not a new idea in sci-fi stories, but the moment you add Ryan Reynolds (as adult Adam) it becomes immediately clear that all bets are off and that you are off on a wild and crazy ride. However, to make this an extra special treat, the movie is directed by Shawn Levy who helped turn out another fun sci-fi romp with Ryan Reynolds late last year with Free Guy. Revisiting this sci-if trope would have only delivered in a tired retread of countless time travel movies, but Levy’s snappy direction gave Reynolds plenty of room to be funny, action-oriented, as well as heartfelt. With Reynolds’ acting and Levi’s directing all three points hit their target perfectly.
Reynolds has a gimmick. It’s one that he cultivated with the “Deadpool” franchise that has made him very popular with movie audiences, and even though he relies on that gimmick he continues to find ways to keep it fresh and relevant to the story. He could easily overplay that hand of his to where it becomes extremely annoying, but he always manages to find a way to coat that snark with a sincerity that sells the part. Other Marvel alums working with Reynolds include Mark Ruffalo as Adam’s father and Zoe Saldana as adult Adam’s wife. Saldana’s part doesn’t rely much on her comedic side, but she does have some strong action sequences that are sure to delight fans of hers. Ruffalo also plays a part that he’s strong in and that is of the particle-physicist who discovers time travel. Regardless of any scientific knowledge Ruffalo may or may not have, he has a way of delivering his techno-babble that helped to give the time travel science plenty of believability. However, despite the strong presence of these three actors, the real magic lies with the young actor playing 12-year-old Adam, and that is Walker Scobell. This is a character who is entirely self-assured. He’s a nerd with a mind that is more developed than his asthmatic body and the lines he throws out makes him the most delightful and entertaining character throughout the movie. Whether he is talking to his mother (played by Jennifer Garner) or mouthing off to his adult self, his lines are the most enjoyable to hear and that is due to Scobell’s tasty delivery. Kids can utter adult-sounding lines and come off as entirely unconvincing. Scobell is a very sharp actor (he has all of Deadpool 2 memorized) and manages to own the lines and not just come off as a Ryan Reynolds wannabe. When I heard Scobell with his snarky delivery I found myself wishing I had his strength of personality when I was that age. Then again, if I had been like him I probably wouldn’t be alive today to write this review, so there we are. But Scobell is more than just a kid with a snarky mouth. This young man has some serious acting chops and can communicate a world of thoughts and emotions just through his facial expressions. Scobell has the potential to go very far.
This Netflix original movie was written by Jonathan Tropper, T.S. Nowlin, Jennifer Flackett, and Mark Levin. Their clever story found great ways to balance some strong science with great action sequences, plenty of laughs, along with moments that were rather tear-jerking. Most sci-fi movies usually strive for two or three of these qualities at best, but these writers, along with Levi’s directing, found a way to create the perfect ratio for all four elements to work successfully. What’s more, they all found a way to deliver a beautiful family movie. There are some scenes of violence and the language can get a bit strong, but the story ideas and the way they were executed make this perfect movie for whole families to enjoy.
The Adam Project may be sci-fi fluff, but it’s sci-fi fluff with heart!
I give The Adam Project 5 out of 5 Diamond-Hard Neuromorphic Processors!
The Adam Project
A time-traveling pilot teams up with his younger self and his late father to come to terms with his past while saving the future. THE ADAM PROJECT launched on Netflix on March 11, 2022.