The Adam Project refuses to be like many films that are released in the Sci-Fi genre, as they are usually considered epics that bring a grander picture to the silver screen for our viewing pleasure, such as the newest acclaimed adaptation of Frank Herbert’s Dune. However, some films choose to embrace a smaller more relatable nature and dare to bring our own universe into a more in-depth—albeit fictional—vision of how technology can advance to the point of catastrophe. Like Netflix’s critically acclaimed Black Mirror series, this is the category The Adam Project comfortably slips into.
The Adam Project is about a middle-aged jet pilot named Adam Reed (Reynolds) travels back in time from a dystopian future in 2050, to when he was just 12 years old to find his wife. His younger self (Scobell) finds him bleeding in their childhood home’s garage, and hilariously deduces the older man in the garage is him from the future through evidence that makes it impossible Reynolds is anyone else. Adam’s (Reynolds) objective on his travels is to figure out what happened to his wife, Laura (Saldaña) during a mission he felt went awry.
The Adam Project approaches difficult topics with deft hands, such as how 12-year-old Adam deals with the death of a parent, and how the mother Ellie (Garner) needs to put up a strong emotional front to support Adam, although she’s also in the difficult process of grieving. How a child regrets things into adulthood, and how people just generally wish they could’ve done better in situations that are irredeemable.
Director Shawn Levy is no stranger to yanking on viewers’ heartstrings, and he does that very thing in The Adam Project. How many times have people regretted something to the point of resentment? He tackles this huge existential issue, while also weaving an overarching plot of ‘what bad things can occur if time travel did exist?’ It’s truly a design that seems like there is too much crammed into the just over 100-minute runtime, but it never feels too sped up to the point of confusion.
“The Adam Project refuses to be like many films that are released in the Sci-Fi genre…”
While there are some conveniences the film takes to quickly explain odd happenstances, they don’t take anything away from the overall narrative, such as when Laura scolds the older Adam for colliding with his parallel self, which is just a no-no in every time travel-based production in cinema. The dialogue between all the characters is comedic and has spot on timing that results in some genuine laughter. But behind that laughter are heart wrenching happenings that hit hard, I swear it was only sweat that came from my eyes during certain hard scenes.
With a movie loaded to the seams with star power, Scobell elevates his performance to walk along with his talented co-stars, and even steals the show. His comedic timing and chemistry with Reynolds are both on point and carries the weight of The Adam Project, there are scenes where they both use the same mannerisms, and it is easy to think that they truly are the same person in different stages of life. The hard portrayal of a 12-year-old who lost their parent and acts out with abandon is navigated with expertise that’s expected of a more seasoned actor.
The more advanced issues the film deals with such as abandonment, are handled in a way that makes the viewer’s heart jump into their throat and is delivered in gut punching fashion. The Adam Project does carry all the qualities that a fun-to-watch comedy needs, but also embraces the harder to confront issues such as taking personal relationships for granted, with poise that drives the point home with precision. The talented cast all work together to make every point in the film easily relatable, the scenes with Ruffalo, or Saldaña at the centre should be walked into with a fresh tissue box.
“The hard portrayal of a 12-year-old who lost their parent and acts out with abandon is navigated with expertise that’s expected of a more seasoned actor.”
When Adam cringes at his younger self for acting a certain way, I felt that. The writing also breaks the 4th wall in fun, Deadpool fashion, when the younger Adam suggests there’s a “multiverse,” with his older self-saying “we watch too many movies.” This can also give a nod to the many actors in the film having starred in Marvel films, a small line with big connotations done well. One of the most pleasant surprises were the CGI and audio effects.
Not only did the CGI look sharp and seep into the universe with realism, but the audio effects sounded true to form, and although the way a bat flip ‘whooshes’ through the air was embellished, it added a small comic-book like element to dress the film appropriately. Especially during action sequences.
The Adam Project is a fun film that dares to be different from traditional comedies by embracing a larger narrative and tackling issues that are relatable to with expert care. While the villain (Keener) is easy to point out, the film does a good job of showing villains aren’t born villains. The excellent writing, and ability to bring the entire narrative to life was a labour of director, producers, and actor delivery that all worked in tandem to bring The Adam Project to term. A film that might be overlooked, but seriously should not be.