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Gerard Johnstone
Allison Williams, Violet McGraw, Ronny Chieng
Writing Credits:
Akela Cooper, James Wan

A robotics engineer at a toy company builds a life-like doll that begins to take on a life of its own.

Box Office:
$12 million.
Opening Weekend:
$30,429,860 on 3509 Screens.
Domestic Gross:

Rated PG-13/NR.

Aspect Ratio: 2.39:1
English DTS-HD MA 7.1
English DVS
Spanish Dolby 7.1
French DTS 5.1
Supplements Subtitles:

Runtime: 129 min.
Price: $24.98
Release Date: 3/21/2023

• Theatrical and Unrated Cuts
• “A New Vision of Horror” Featurette
• “Bringing Life to M3GAN” Featurette
• “Getting Hacked” Featurette
• DVD Copy


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M3GAN [Blu-Ray] (2023)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (March 19, 2023)

Hollywood enjoys a history of horror movies about “killer dolls”. 2023’s M3GAN becomes the latest entry in this genre.

After eight-year-old Cady’s (Violet McGraw) parents die in a car crash, she goes to live with her aunt Gemma (Allison Williams). A talented roboticist, Gemma’s existence revolves around work and even though she develops artificial intelligence gadgets at a toy company, she enjoys no ability to relate to kids.

As they get to know each other, though, Cady responds positively to an old robot designed by Gemma, and this leads her to meet a prototype “living doll” codenamed “Model 3 Generative Android” – or “M3GAN” for short. This seems like a blessing after Cady bonds with M3GAN and seems to get out of her funk, but when M3GAN takes its mission to protect Cady too seriously, problems ensue.

When we last saw writers James Wan and Akela Cooper, they penned another horror hit, 2021’s Malignant. Audiences and critics liked that one, but I did not, as I thought it delivered a ridiculous affair.

At the very least, M3GAN works better than that stinker. Nonetheless, it becomes no more than a sporadic success.

Viewers inevitably compared M3GAN to the Child’s Play movies, and for obvious reasons. 35 years after the character’s debut, Chucky remains the king of the “killer doll” roost.

However, don’t expect M3GAN to bring a clone, as the characters show notable differences, and the films follow different paths. Whereas the Child’s Play flicks simply as horror with a quirky twist, M3GAN aims for a stronger sense of social commentary.

Some of this relates to parenting in general, but most of the material connects to our over-reliance on smart phones and other gadgets. The film touches on those domains as it explores various themes.

Don’t expect real insight, though. In addition, the movie pins these topics a little too on the nose at times.

Still, I appreciate that M3GAN attempts something more than basic horror. It might not dig too deeply, but at least it shoots for something beyond cheap thrills.

Well, for a while, at least. As it goes, M3GAN tends to shed its satirical/reflective side and turn more into a standard horror flick.

Which seems inevitable, as M3GAN needs to bring out the “killer” to the “killer doll” domain. Some of this feels gratuitous, though, as it comes across more like violence for the sake of violence than material inherent to the narrative.

Really, M3GAN works best when it uses the title character as an insidious influence. The moments when the film engages in psychological terror fare better than the graphic moments.

Nonetheless, the two sides mesh reasonably well and create a moderately compelling horror flick. M3GAN never turns into anything especially memorable, but it keeps the viewer occupied.

The Disc Grades: Picture B+/ Audio B/ Bonus C-

M3GAN appears in an aspect ratio of 2.39:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. Expect a solid presentation here.

The majority of the movie appeared pretty concise and accurate. Some minor softness impacted the occasional interior shot, but most of the flick seemed accurate and well-defined.

No issues with shimmering or moiré effects appeared, and I saw no edge haloes. Print flaws failed to materialize.

In terms of palette, the film opted for a teal palette that favored the blue side of that equation as well as a fair amount of amber. It appeared that the disc presented these dominant tones as intended.

Blacks were dark and dense, and shadows showed good clarity. This was a largely satisfying presentation.

In addition, the film’s DTS-HD MA 7.1 soundtrack proved more than adequate, though not stellar. Despite the horror tale on display, the mix didn’t pack a whole lot of lively material.

M3GAN came with occasional violent scenes, and these offered good punch. The rest of the mix brought out a nice sense of atmosphere.

Not a lot of created a dynamic soundscape, though. Music fleshed out the surroundings and turned this into an appropriate mix but not one that stood out as impressive.

Audio quality worked fine, with dialogue that appeared natural and concise. Music felt full and dynamic as well.

Effects seemed accurate and lively, with good clarity and punch. This became a perfectly acceptable mix for what the story wanted to do.

The Blu-ray includes both theatrical (1:41:56) and unrated (1:41:50) cuts of M3GAN. Wait – the unrated edition lasts six seconds shorter than its “PG-13” counterpart?

That seems strange, and I initially wondered if the disc simply mislabeled the two cuts. However, when I got to the unrated version’s second “F”-bomb – of many more - I realized it indeed comes with a shorter running time.

Whatever happened, obviously one won’t find clear differences between the two. In addition to more strong profanity, the unrated M3GAN delivers a little more graphic gore and violence.

All of this seems far too minor to make the unrated M3GAN substantially different than its “PG-13” counterpart. I’m glad the disc provides it but it fails to offer alterations beyond these ratings-related domains.

A few featurettes appear, and A New Vision of Horror runs five minutes, 51 seconds. It provides notes from producer Jason Blum, director Gerard Johnstone, co-writers Akela Cooper and James Wan, New Zealand line producer Jill Soper, key makeup artist Stef Knight, animatronics technician Devin Seman, set designer Neil Kirkland, director of photography Peter McCaffrey, XYTECH’s Harry Harrison, metal fabrication supervisor Joel Ahie-Drought, costume designer Daniel Cruden, and actors Allison Williams, Brian Jordan Alvarez, Ronny Chieng, and Jen Van Epps.

“Vision” looks at the movie’s premise and themes, Johnstone’s impact on the production, sets and locations, and various effects. A few good notes emerge but much of “Vision” feels promotional.

Bringing Life to M3GAN spans five minutes, 22 seconds and offers info from Williams, Knight, Johnstone, Cruden, Blum, McCaffrey, Seman, Wan, Chieng, puppet lead Kathy Tse, supervising puppeteer Adrien Morot, puppeteer Paul Lewis, and actors Amie Donald and Violet McGraw.

We get a look at the design and execution of M3GAN. It becomes a decent overview, albeit one with more fluff than I’d like.

Finally, Getting Hacked fills three minutes, 45 seconds with remarks from Williams, Donald, Blum, Johnstone, Knight, Chieng, Wan, movement coach Jed Brophy, stunt coordinator Isaac Hamon, and actor Stephane Garneau-Monten.

This one also covers ways the film brought M3GAN to life, with an emphasis on stunts and violence. It follows the same light and mildly informative vibe of the other two featurettes.

A second disc delivers a DVD copy of M3GAN. It includes the same extras as the Blu-ray.

A decent box office hit, M3GAN manages its own spin on a particular horror genre. While it never quite excels, the movie becomes a generally entertaining thriller. The Blu-ray brings good picture and audio as well as minor bonus materials. Nothing here makes M3GAN a great flick, but it becomes moderately satisfying

Viewer Film Ratings: 3.6666 Stars Number of Votes: 3
2 3:
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