CAPSULE: For once we have a serious adult science fiction story, part of a new face for SyFy Channel. A contemporary man dying of cancer is carefully terminated, cryogenically frozen and revived in 2084 to discover a very new world. A new device will allow him to take photographs of the mental images of his memories. The film looks at his relationship to the girl he left behind and a woman who is his new caretaker. Mateo Gil directs his own screenplay. It is all done humorlessly, though the viewer may be reminded of the premise of Woody Allen’s ‘Sleeper’. The film is in English, but is a Belgian, French, Spanish co-production. Rating: high +1 (-4 to +4) or 6/10
I was under the impression that when the SyFy channel released a film it was usually on the level of ‘Sharknado’. This film has higher aspirations. Here SyFy is releasing an adult piece of Science Fiction with characters at its centre. The plot of having a contemporary person waking up in the future goes at least back to the book ‘Looking Backward’ and would have to include Woody Allen’s ‘Sleeper’. So the plot is familiar but now it has more of a feel of technical realism.
Tom Hughes plays Marc Jarvis, who died about 2015 but had his body cryonically frozen in liquid nitrogen to be revived when the science of medicine was up to the technical challenge of curing and reviving him. That day comes in 2084 and a high-bio-tech company is ready to regenerate and bring back the dead. In a high-tech medical facility, Marc recovers after many years of being effectively dead, now alive but being nursed by Elizabeth (played by Charlotte le Bon). His future life is one with a lot of familiar touches predicted also by ‘The Twilight Zone’, ‘Just Imagine’ and other Science Fiction sources. People choose their bodies, lifespan is much longer and sex is no longer stigmatised.
Marc’s mind goes over his restored memories that were surprisingly not destroyed by the freezing process. He remembers his first life as being very organic. His best memories involve nature. The film shows his first life as a bond with nature, starting with the first scenes of his being born into a world of flesh and blood.
He says his second life started in much the same way but, as we later, see the two worlds diverge. The year 2084 is cold to the touch. While his first life was painted in earth tones, his new life is mostly in cold colours of whites, blue and gray. Even the people have faces flushed with white. Marc can hold onto a visual record of his mental images with a new (future) invention called a Mind Writer that allows him to show his memories to his doctors. But Marc’s situation deeply depresses him and he finds himself identifying with the Frankenstein monster.
Much of the film, narrated by Marc, are his philosophical reflections on life gathered from the rebirth experience. ‘Realive’ is finally a cold, bloodless, look into a possible future and at human relationships in the present. Still, this look at the future is hard to become engaged with because the world is so cold and lifeless. As Marc says, ‘Before I died I thought there was nothing after death; now I’m sure.” I rate ‘Realive’ a high +1 on the -4 to +4 scale or 6/10. I am not sure if the title means ‘Real Alive’, ‘Re-alive’ or perhaps ‘Real Live’.
Mark R. Leeper
(c) Mark R. Leeper2017