Science fiction is as a lot in regards to the current as it’s in regards to the future, however The Pod Technology finally ends up, fairly unusually, about neither. Depicting a pair’s determination to offer start utilizing a synthetic womb proper out of the Apple Retailer, it makes frequent allusions to the modern politics of feminine autonomy – to not point out, scattered commentary on a number of present hot-button technological points – nevertheless it finally settles on a lukewarm home comedy-drama. Its perspective on parenthood feels distracted at greatest, making the most of neither its personal glossy, futuristic design, nor its succesful leads: Chiwetel Ejiofor and Emilia Clarke, who make for a vigorous pair, however who finally wrestle so as to add thematic depth to what little exists on the web page.
Written and directed by Sophie Barthes, The Pod Technology doesn’t a lot play coy with its location and timeline, as a lot because it merely forgets to specify them till about an hour in. It might not matter to the larger image, nevertheless it’s simply certainly one of a number of particulars that feels half-baked. Rachel (Clarke) is a plain, corner-office skilled with little interiority past her reactions to her fast circumstances. She lives along with her tutorial husband, Alvy (Ejiofor), whose enthusiasm for a pure world – one shortly being left behind on this considerably sterile future – is The Pod Technology’s saving grace. Natural crops have been phased out in favor of holograms (which we’re instructed about, however not often see) and 3D-printed meals is made to resemble full meals, whose style or texture isn’t commented upon. This lack of context works towards the truth that Alvy’s entire deal is his nostalgic reverence for the tangible. He’s a botanist, at a time when such a career is not worthwhile, so Rachel brings residence the artificial bacon, because of her job at a nebulous tech agency that seems to have one thing to do with celeb social media profiles, NFTs, and AI residence assistants (it’s not fairly clear, nevertheless it does contain buzzwords you may acknowledge).
Initially, the film’s central battle surrounds Rachel’s determination – unbeknownst to Alvy – to take the recommendation of her bosses and join a distant being pregnant, during which her fetus can be housed inside an egg-shaped pod at a high-tech institute referred to as The Womb Middle. It has all of the makings of one thing unusual, charged, and extremely related, between a lady positioned in a troublesome place by her company overlords, a person reluctant to let know-how exchange nature, and their mixed lack of ability to speak about how greatest to convey a child into this world.
Nonetheless, most of those threads are wrapped up a lot sooner (and rather more neatly) than you’d count on. For probably the most half, The Pod Technology meanders via prolonged scenes of Alvy rising extra acclimated to the machine carrying his future offspring, and of Rachel rising extra distracted as she ponders the choice of a pure start. Their authentic views finally change (although this occurs directly, fairly than regularly), and their disagreements as a pair are additionally swiftly resolved, lingering simply lengthy sufficient to offer the looks of a thematic via line with dramatic heft.
The Pod Technology Gallery
In the meantime, The Pod Technology makes fixed allusions to its personal concepts and their implications; at one level, a personality even refers back to the womb as “the political issue of our time.” It appears like this must be a loaded story of how know-how has turn into more and more entwined with each side of recent life – however it might want a definite political outlook to take action. There are moments when each principal characters develop irritated with their Siri-like assistants (can they not merely flip them off? The query by no means arises), and there are additionally instances when scant social satire briefly emerges, through the introduction of some overbearing AI tech. However few of those concepts and ideas are allowed the time to gestate earlier than focus shifts again to the principle, malformed story of parenthood.
The display screen is at all times rife with particulars about this future, however not often do these particulars add up in ways in which both affect the story, or reveal intriguing dimensions to Rachel and Alvy’s world. Actual cash and digital foreign money exist facet by facet – a deposit at The Womb Middle prices $8,700, whereas inhaling contemporary air round a plant prices one “eGold” – however neither of those figures are framed comparatively with one another, or with different costs generally, and the shortage of a definite timeline makes it arduous to imagine how a lot a greenback could be price at this time limit. There’s little sense of whether or not these quantities are thought of massive or small; are Rachel and Alvy bickering over pocket change, or a significant funding? Equally, a element so simple as Alvy studying a print journal may doubtlessly inform us extra about him, since we don’t see anybody else studying analog materials – however we don’t see anybody else studying in any respect, digitally or in any other case. Outdoors of what we’re instructed about Alvy via dialogue, there’s no visible sense of whether or not his pastime is both a rarity, or an indication of how strongly he stays tethered to the previous.
The film’s makes an attempt to critique company capitalism are simply as half-baked, with fleeting feedback from varied supporting characters about human obsolescence and the best way this new world features. However few are the instances when the actual affect of those hierarchies are proven. The stakes are largely assumed, fairly than felt, and whereas Barthes’ digicam is essentially unobtrusive, it’s additionally un-stylistic with regards to creating that means, pressure, comedy, or momentum throughout the body. When Rachel and Alvy make choices which can be at odds with the Middle’s supposedly vice-grip phrases of service, the result’s by no means narratively fascinating sufficient to current them with private challenges. Not solely does the movie misuse its dystopian premise and utopian manufacturing design, nevertheless it fails to seize the best way they may conflict. It infrequently engages the viewer on probably the most primary dramatic stage, since practically all of its conflicts are resolved with the snap of a finger.
Worse but, its tone is particularly awkward. It feels torn between sincerity, and limp, ironic satire to the purpose that its characters’ phrases and actions seldom have clear dramatic or thematic function. The “why” of their choices not often issues, and the “what” simply as not often provides as much as one thing significant, regardless of Clarke and Ejiofor’s greatest efforts to persuade us that Rachel and Alvy have been positioned in a troublesome place. If something, The Pod Technology makes its future appear fairly straightforward, enjoyable, and handy, with out a lot want for second thought.