"Look out, puny world of humans, here I come!" Babies are supposed to be tender, fragile, and altogether lovable, not lethal weapons emerging from the womb ready to threaten mankind. Yet Vincenzo Natali's Splice, which opens tomorrow, features not one but two disquieting birth scenes. The second is more disturbing, as a quickly-developing fetus grabs hold of biochemist Sarah Polley and doesn't want to let go, requiring the intervention of fellow scientist (and love interest) Adrian Brody to come between them.
Splice features a high degree of entertainment value, especially after it takes a turn into darker, more outlandish -- and funnier -- territory. I think it's too outrageous to be truly unsettling, but I enjoyed myself, and it offers food for discussion, especially for fans of both horror and science fiction. The latter element is important in establishing the initial tone and setting, so it's inevitable that I began thinking of other distinctive sci-fi babies, beginning with, perhaps, the most obvious.
1. 2001: A Space Odyssey
The first time I saw the movie, I had no freakin' clue what the ending might possibly mean. In the years since then, I've read the book, I've read many reviews, I've seen the movie maybe 18-20 times, and I think I have a better idea. The collaboration between Stanley Kubrick and Arthur C. Clarke reflects Kubrick's sensibility much more than Clarke's, but Clarke's scientific grounding allowed the film to take flight. And the startling image of the Star-Child -- a baby in space -- is indelible.