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Sundance Movie Review: ‘Divinity’ Is Pure Scifi Inanity

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Sundance Movie Review: ‘Divinity’ Is Pure Scifi Inanity

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Sundance Movie Review: ‘Divinity’ Is Pure Scifi Inanity
Sundance Movie Review: 'Divinity' Is Pure Scifi Inanity

1/5

Jaxxon Sterling (Stephen Dorff, center) is held prisoner by Stars (Moises Arias, Jason Genao). Photo courtesy of Sundance Institute

Jackson Sterling (Stephen Dorff, center) is captured by the Stars (Moises Arias, Jason Genao). Photo from Sundance Institute

Jan. 26 (UPI) — " Divinity ," which debuted Saturday at the Sundance Film Festival, looks like a sci-fi parable of the THX 1138 variety. Unfortunately, it is so difficult and difficult to recognize that every important message arrives late.

Jackson Pierce (Stephen Dorff) continues his father Sterling's (Scott Bakula) research into Theology's anti-aging formula. Jackson makes it work, though not everyone is happy about it.

Two men (Moises Arias, Jason Genao) break into Jackson's house and give him an overdose of Theology. Meanwhile, Ziva (Bella Thorne) leads a group of people in retro sci-fi outfits trying to stop Theology, the storyline for the rest of the film.

Writer/director Eddie Alcazar shot Theology in black and white, which makes it very difficult to watch. Montages, blurry archival footage of Sterling's research, and ambiguous parallel stories force viewers to piece together Theology .

The sequence combines stop-motion animation with anime-style backgrounds. In the black-and-white shots, he is as motionless as the rest of the film.

In an early video, Sterling shows that Theology is not preventing his mental decline. The possibility of brain aging in eternally young bodies has not prevented anyone from attaining divinity.

Jackson also shows that before divinity was invented, this world was full of infinity. Very few people will be born but still want to live forever.

Divinity shows clear parallels with the controversial science of the real world when it reveals what the formula actually is. The film questions the ethics of such scientific advances, but is so obvious that it's awkward at best.

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Perhaps worse, this shift in divinity has far more dire consequences in the real world than anti-scientists warn. Yes, Soylent Green warns that corporations are turning people into food, but Theology can fuel dangerous anti-science positions.

There is also free sex in the film. It's also about being ethical when you know exactly where Jackson's partners are coming from.

Divinity is clearly meant to be an inspirational film. Knowing the film itself remains problematic.

Fred Topel, who went to film school at Ithaca College, is a Los Angeles-based entertainment writer for UPI. He has been a professional film critic since 1999, a Rotten Tomatoes critic since 2001, and a member of the Television Critics Association since 2012. Learn more about his work in entertainment.

How I Got My Vampire starring Jessica M. Thompson was released by Sony.

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