‘The Adam Project’ is another overdone Sci-fi cliche

Shawn Levy presents a tired action movie that lacks real depth despite its all-star cast.


Ryan Reynolds and Walker Scobell gaze up at the sky | Sky Dance Media

Alex Zhang, Staff Writer

Fresh off the success from the duo’s partnership in last year’s hit movie “Free Guy,” Director Shawn Levy and star Ryan Reynolds burst back onto the big screen in Netflix’s latest movie “The Adam Project.” Released nationwide on March 11, the film follows a classic time travel trope fit for the entire family. 

The movie begins in the present with 12-year-old Adam (Walker Scobell) having just been suspended for fighting with a bully. At home, the audience quickly discovers that Adam and his mother Ellie (Jennifer Garner) are still grappling with the loss of Adam’s physics professor dad Louis (Mark Ruffalo), who recently died in a car crash. One night, Adult Adam (Ryan Reynolds) suddenly shows up at Young Adam’s doorstep, heavily injured, and piloting his futuristic spaceship from the year 2050. Soon after, the movie’s main antagonist, wealthy businesswoman Maya Sorian (Catherine Keener) is introduced. In an attempt to both save his wife (Zoe Saldana) and the future, Adult Adam must go on a mission to travel back in time with his younger counterpart.

One area where the film manages to hit its mark is the movie’s well-paced scenes and total duration. Interwoven with classic hit songs like Led Zeppelin’s “Good Times Bad Times” and Spencer Davis Group’s “Gimme Some Lovin,” the music helped generate a timely, nostalgic feel to certain moments. Moreover, the balance between action-packed scenes and time set aside for comedic moments helped keep viewers hooked as the film progressed.

While the film certainly carries an all-star cast with Hollywood talent like Reynolds, Garner, and Ruffalo, its mediocre special effects have the unintended consequence of distracting the audience more than anything. From a de-aged version of Keener to poor visual effects like bad guys disappearing into fumes of pink dust when dying, the film’s “movie magic” falls short. Despite some redeeming moments showcased by well-choreographed fight scenes, the glare of special effects rarely allows the cast’s natural acting ability to shine through. 

Similarly, the film also makes the mistake of lacking a clearly defined target demographic, wasting the charming repartee captured in the two Adam’s dynamic on audiences either much too old or much too young to appreciate it. On the one hand, the film’s simple plot of conflicts between sci-fi characters and robot villains with a lack of gore or violence caters towards younger children. On the other hand, multiple profanities and choice dialogue implies a level of maturity fit for today’s teens. This unsavory combination unfortunately makes for a gray area of a plot that leaves little room for moviegoers to fully appreciate the movie in its entirety. 

For diehard fans of the sci-fi film genre, “The Adams Project” is a simple, entertaining movie to spend time watching on Netflix. However, for moviegoers looking for cinema that challenges and furthers the boundaries of futuristic imagination, they are better off sticking with Levy’s wildly more popular “Stranger Things.”

3/5 Stars