“Mere Mortals” is a film that makes you think. I don’t mean that in the good “Wow, this makes me want to re-evaluate my life” kind of way or even the “Let me see if I can put all these puzzle pieces in their right place” kind of way. It mostly just leaves you thinking “What the hell did I just watch?”
Let’s see. There is a doctor from the future who was exiled to the past and banished from medicine for accidentally killing his wife. He has some future cop watching over him to make sure he doesn’t break the future rules. This watcher tasks him with finding some robots who may be the key to saving the future Earth. One of these robots may also be the key to finding the doctor’s future test tube son who was sent to the past….or something.
It doesn’t help that this is mostly a silent film and when people do talk it tends to be in that stilted sci-fi speak that is meant to convey importance and depth without actually saying anything. Think of it as a less verbose version of the “Matrix” sequels.
An incomprehensible plot would be a little easier to swallow if we had some characters to care about but we’re given cardboard cut-outs instead. The characters show up and immediately set out on whatever tasks they have before them without any time spent letting us know who these people are. I don’t think having your actors stand around quietly while brooding synth chords play in the background doubles for character development.
The actors come off surprisingly well given the ridiculous things they are forced to do and say. The exiled doctor is played by David Lockhart, who looks and acts like a cross between Tom Cruise and Dennis Quaid. Lockhart handles the majority of the film’s abundant voice overs and manages to add some weight to lines that have none on their own. Natasha Baker plays the future cop and does a marvelous of not laughing while spouting out her future “Matrix” talk.
Good, intelligent science fiction is tough to pull off, especially when you don’t have millions of dollars to spend on laser fights to distract the audience from your ludicrous script. “Mere Mortals” aimed high and fell short.