Utopia review: A bad case of reel imitating real

Written by Ektaa Malik

September 25, 2020 8:51:28 pm

Utopia is on the market on Amazon Prime Video.

Utopia solid: John Cusack, Rainn Wilson, Sasha Lane, Dan Byrd and Javon Walton
Utopia creator: Gillian Flynn
Utopia score: Two stars

A contagious virus with no vaccine, and large pharma scrambling to make thousands and thousands. No these should not headlines from a newspaper. These are the plot arcs from Amazon Prime Video’s newest big-ticket providing Utopia. It all begins somewhat innocuously, as issues normally do, in an previous home in suburban Chicago the place a lone authentic copy of Utopia — a comic book e-book — surfaces. The look of Utopia, a sequel to Dystopia, sends the comedian e-book universe right into a tizzy, attracting bidders from throughout. Enter a bunch of ragtag younger adults who geek out over the comedian e-book. They have by no means met in real life, however have shaped a friendship based mostly on on-line discussions and dissections of the stated comedian e-book. Plans are hatched to put their palms on Utopia as a result of it has the keys to occasions which are unfolding round them. The group shares a somewhat unhealthy obsession of conspiracy theories, however they aren’t the one ones coveting the comedian e-book. Surely, the protagonist of the comedian e-book herself, Jessica Hyde (Sasha Lane) too needs a chunk of the motion. Then there are the trigger-happy bad guys who is not going to cease at something to get the comedian e-book of their possession. While the group performs cover and search with the bad guys, aided by Hyde, a lethal virus has unleashed itself across the US and individuals are dying in hordes. We meet John Cusack (Kevin Christie) who heads a large pharma firm, after which there may be Michael Stearns (Rainn Wilson), a virologist, who meanders his manner into the center of all of it.

The timing of the present couldn’t have been worse, or greatest, relying in your pursuits within the ‘pandemic genre’. The ‘spread of a deadly virus’ has been par for the course in lots of TV exhibits, starting from police-procedurals to medical dramas. House MD, The Good Doctor and even the current season of The Resident had plots constructed round it. We are conversant in how that pans out, however to have the identical theme unfold over eight lengthy episodes could be making an attempt. Utopia hits too near dwelling, and the CDC staff clad in yellow hazmat go well with are too reminiscent of the blue PPE kits that medical personnel are carrying all over the world as they combat Covid-19.

Do we actually wish to spend hours seeing what we’re coping with on a regular basis round us? The scene involving helpless mother and father, who’re protesting outdoors a college the place their youngsters are quarantined, is a mirrored image of what we’re present process as a society globally. We can’t even collect peacefully or in protest in real life, it may be deadly.

Utopia might maybe be seen as pertinent to this time, nevertheless it may be perceived to be including to the nervousness and stress. Helmed by Gillian Flynn, Utopia is a remake of a 2013 British present. The authentic had obtained its shares of criticism for being too violent and darkish. The American model apparently has toned down the violence quotient, however it’s nonetheless gory. A specific scene which includes a watch and a spoon will make even probably the most sturdy of present watchers squeamish. But Flynn’s screenwriting oeuvre, she has no points with violence. Even in one thing like Gone Girl, she didn’t draw back from blood and gore: Remember the scene with Rosamund Pike and Neil Patrick Harris? The drawback with Utopia is it takes too lengthy to return to the purpose. We run circles: into plots and subplots and backstories. Many lengthy scenes are utilized in making an attempt to decode the comedian e-book with assist arriving from unusual quarters. It doesn’t have the tempo of a thriller, nor the gravitas of a ‘pandemic-drama’. The violence detracts from the primary plot, which oscillates between the ‘geeks shall save the world from imminent annihilation’ tangent and ‘man is the root cause of all evil’. Maybe at another time, the present would have made cinematic sense, and we’d have marvelled at this alternate world. But it is a bad case of reel imitating real. You are safer watching reruns of your favorite sitcoms as an alternative.

Utopia is streaming on Amazon Prime Video.

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