In the upcoming sci-fi film Self/Less, Ben Kingsley stars as a dying old man named Damian, who is given a second lease on life by Dr. Albright (Matthew Goode). He proposes that Damian undergoes a radical medical procedure known as "shedding," which will transfer his consciousness to a younger, healthier body (Ryan Reynolds). It allows Damian to essentially achieve immortality and pursue an enviable lifestyle before things turn bad.
The concepts presented in Self/Less are certainly fascinating ones to consider, as they perhaps one day will become a reality. In the meantime, viewers are left wondering what other applications shedding might have, and thanks to a pair of viral videos, one can see how animals are affected by the practice, with creatures displaying traits that are atypical to their species.
On YouTube channel sillyrabbit1983, there are two videos that showcase fictionalized tests to evaluate the effectiveness of the shedding procedures. In one (view above), a fish displays a mastery of the game of fetch and a need for human love and attention like a normal dog; the other shows a cat caring for a nest of baby birds instead of preying on the easy targets and eating them (as a mother bird would).
It's a cool and interesting way to introduce the general public to the film's ideas a week ahead of its release, and given the amount of traffic the videos are generating (the fish one alone was picked up on more than 75 viral sites), the strong web presence will most likely benefit Self/Less when it hits theaters. Coming out in the heat of the summer movie season is a common challenge for anything not connected to an established franchise, so every little bit will help Focus Features' Gramercy Pictures label sell audiences on their unique project.
The clips also do a good job of laying the ground work for some of the movie's primary themes. Based on the theatrical Self/Less trailers, it would seem as if Self/Less is going to be a variation on the tried and true "man plays God" trope that depicts mankind's overly-developed sense of ambition and all of the potential pitfalls that arise when scientists try to meddle with nature. Going off of the two videos, it looks like Albright's team gets more and more "creative" with each test they conduct. While it's relatively harmless to give a fish the personality of a dog, one can see how things might get dicey should the cat's motherly instincts not kick in when they should after being introduced to a bunch of defenseless birds.
It's true that this is a premise we have seen examined in movies over and over again, most recently in the blockbuster smash Jurassic World. Savvy moviegoers probably have a good idea how things will play out with the main conflict of Self/Less, but that doesn't mean it will be any less intriguing because of it. Presenting audiences with one of the better "what ifs" in recent memory, the film looks to provide both entertaining genre thrills and heady food for thought. And with a strong cast leading the way, that will be a fun ride to take.
Self/Less will be in theaters July 10, 2015.
Source: Gramercy Pictures
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