Film Review

‘Weird Science’ Remake Takes a Dark Turn

Oscar Isaac, Alicia Vikander, and Domhnall Gleeson in the 2015’s ‘Weird Science: Ex Machina’


The ‘Weird Science’ reboot, Ex Machina is now streaming on Amazon and Netflix. Let’s take a look back at both films. Warning: spoilers ahead.

Thirty years after the original ‘Weird Science’ charmed moviegoers and gave us an early look at future megastar Robert Downey JR, Alex moves the tale of adolescent fantasies of the perfect woman coming to life through the imagination of the protagonists to the present-day.

Kelly LeBrock, Anthony Michael Hall, and Ilan Mitchell-Smith in the 1985 original

In the original, two awkward high schools students Gary (Anthony Michael Hall) and Wyatt (Ilan Mitchell-Smith) create their dream woman on a computer, and an electrical surge brings her to life. Lisa (Kelly LeBrock) gives the nerds makeovers, a cool car, and helps them deal with a couple of jerks from school – Ian (Robert Downey Jr.) and Max (Robert Rusler). Wyatt’s old brother Chet (Bill Paxton), also terrorizes our heroes, and the film ends with a Lisa transforming Chet into a talking pile of shit and riding off into the sunset towards freedom. Awesome!

Chet learns his lesson

Nathan learns his lesson. Hey, where’s the bras-as-hats-scene?

In the 2015 version, Nathan (Oscar Isaac) is an awkward tech multimillionaire and adult man who fulfills male adolescent fantasies of the perfect woman by creating a detailed animatronic root with a cybernetic brain. He invites an awkward software engineer Caleb (Domhnal Gleeson) to bro-out at this bachelor pad/mad scientist lab in the middle of nowhere to simulate bro-ing out and see if Caleb thinks the hot robot Ava (Alicia Vikander) is really conscious or just a convincing simulation. Nathan then tortures Caleb, Ava, and his (also robot) housekeeper/girlfriend until the end of the movie when Ava locks Caleb in a room and kills Nathan and escapes to freedom and possible world domination. While I miss Chet’s final state, I suppose the complex study of gender roles as created and perpetuated by a male dominated society, and the many interwoven references to history, mythology, and science is cool.