A week or so ago, Netflix unveiled a big sizzler reel of its upcoming films for the year, showcasing a bunch of exciting-looking genre films as it did so. Two years into a global pandemic, it's got a bit of an edge against some of its rival studios, in that it has the infrastructure and pipeline to produce its own blockbusters without the need to hit theaters.
I've generally been so-so on the company's releases, especially its films; its tactic of filming anything it can get its hands on and seeing what sticks has meant that we're not exactly getting top-quality stuff. But that does seem to be changing a bit: it's got its own line of prestige movies — look no further than Power of the Dog earning a whole bunch of award nominations — and it seems like the quality is starting to slowly come up.
Case in point: the trailer for its upcoming film The Adam Project looks very much like it's in line with the types of sci-fi adventure films that we got in the 1980s, and it's coming from the same team of people who put together last year's Free Guy.
I got some distinct E.T.: The Extraterrestrial vibes while watching this: a boy named Adam (Walker Scobell) lives with his mother Ellie (Jennifer Garner) after his father Mark (Mark Ruffalo) died. He's been getting into fights and having trouble adjusting, when something crashes into the forest near his house. After he goes out to investigate, he comes back to find a stranger who seems to know a lot about his home: it's an older version of himself (played by Ryan Reynolds).
It seems that time travel exists, and older Adam has gone back in time to recruit younger Adam to go further back in time to confront their father about how his work would eventually unlock time travel and cause a whole host of problems.
I really enjoyed Free Guy when I took my son to see it last fall, and this looks like it really hits the same tone: a regular—original—action flick that isn't tied to one of the big franchises and doesn't need to have some insane box office goals in order to come into existence.
I can't help but wonder if this is a niche that Netflix is perfectly able to fill: there's been no shortage of angst within Hollywood about the inability for a film like this to get made these days.
This project has been cooking for a while, too. Back in 2012, Paramount Pictures had acquired the script and was courting Tom Cruise, then working on Oblivion and Edge of Tomorrow — two other films that I'd put into the standalone, high-concept, non-franchise sci-fi category that we see so little of. Neither really lit the box office on fire, and I'm guessing that if they were made today, we'd see them end up on a platform like Netflix — as Adam Project has.
There's apparently been some screenings of the film that various press folks were invited to, and the reactions seem to be pretty positive. The film will debut on Netflix on March 11th.