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Ron Rifkin made a career of playing edgy, smart, and arrogant characters. Here he is a major geneticist who is working on some coding in the DNA that affects future generations. he has sort of created evolution. He has developed a kind of serum (it's interesting that some of the stuff that has these qualities can be reduced to a little bottle of brown liquid) that will accelerate this gene. He has no way of knowing what the effects will be. Because his university does not cotton to his experiments, he knows they will never allow him to use it on human subjects, he decides to inject himself. The only visible change is a big one, a series of huge welts begin to form on his hands and then on his back. They form a kind of map resembling a diagram of plate tectonics, which he recognizes. Meanwhile, he is enlisting the help of a group of hand-picked students, who have strong physical and mental attributes. At one point in an injection of gratuitous sexuality, the kids are asked to disrobe. A couple of them find this disgusting and leave. We have a little moment of titillation and then move on. It is done in the name of having a body free of blemishes (one person is dismissed for having an appendectomy scar). There is a subplot of his estrangement with his son (the good doctor, driven by his obsessive behavior has driven his family away) and his girlfriend. Ultimately, they all end up in a woods and are confronted by a battery of soldiers, guns drawn. Here is where everything is revealed. The thing that diminishes this is a lack of logic for what transpires (we could use a little explanation) and the ridiculous process of paring down the candidates. I haven't seen all the Outer Limits episodes cries out for a sequel. I wonder if this ever happened.
Hard science fiction, in both book and film form, has found fertile origins for its creative stimuli within scientific literature that deals with research in genetics, especially material depicting the significance of DNA as a schematic for each individual human's identity. The manner in which genes are expressed not only signifies how our bodies function, but also our physical characteristics; in essence, who and what we have become. The discovery of introns in 1993 was responsible for revamping this complex genetic background, noteworthy since intron sectors of DNA are not translated into a form of protein. This film posits possible extraterrestrial contact for its storyline although its plot components carom well away from even the most mild believability factor. Ron Rivkin performs as a famed geneticist, Dr. Martin Nodel, whose employing university classes are considered as of premium worth to his students. He believes that the somewhat obscure introns may be of pivotal importance to future human generations. Because this genetic material seemingly does not code for protein, Nodel cultivated a formula that he hopes will activate it. By an ultimate effort to apply the scientific method, he clandestinely injects himself with the formula, hoping thus for some type of visual evidence that will allow him to create a theory with respect to intron function. It is a successful experiment, as Nodel does display physical changes and, in conjunction with these, his native efficiency as a scientific researcher decides him to select a highly talented crew of eight students from his classes to assist in a completing a project of which only he is enlightened while leading the bewildered octet into a remote region near their university's grounds. Nodel's reluctant hope for revelation stemming from his bodily alterations becomes the essential propellant for a storyline that, unfortunately, will be found to be unacceptable to those viewers who will prefer more logic than is provided here, as a good deal of silliness prevents the piece from reaching a threshold of plausibility. The film begins in pleasing fashion, its most engaging moments being a result of the able playing of Rivkin, whose naturalistic acting mode is focused upon his character's interaction with his department dean, his students, his son, and himself. Due to Nodel's being diagnosed as a victim of an oft-fatal genetically-predicated malady, Wilson's Disease, his chosen academic discipline holds increasing import relating to his potential for survival. Unhappily, the film steadily unravels as it proceeds, Nodel's relationship with his son Paul (Ryan Reynolds) developing only shallowly. In addition, a scene wherein Nodel's chosen coterie of students must disrobe at his direction in order for him to examine them for possible tattoos or scars, is gratuitous as well as absurd, and the work's hurried climax will strike a number of viewers possessing rudimentary intelligence as being merely foolish.
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