Cyberpunk Review » Teknolust - Not Cyberpunk

April 14, 2006

Teknolust - Not Cyberpunk

Movie Review By: SFAM

Directed by: Lynn Hershman-Leeson

Written by: Lynn Hershman-Leeson

IMDB Reference

Key Cast Members:

  • Rosetta/Ruby/Marinne/Olive: Tilda Swinton
  • Rating: 4 out of 10

    Teknolust screen capture


    Overview: Yet another completely misleading title, marketing campaign and DVD cover. Look at this title, cover, and then read this blurb on the back of the DVD:


    Rosetta’s lab holds more than the usual beakers and Bunsen burners. This bio-geneticist isn’t just creating the perfect woman: she’s creating three of them.

    Rosetta has downloaded her own DNA into the Self Replicating Automatons – S.R.A.s that look human, but were bred as intelligent machines. But in order to survive, they need sustenance of male Y chromo, found only in sperm. Now the cyborgs have to get out into the world and feed.

    Who knew the future would be this sexy?


    Teknolust screen capture


    Now reading this, you’d have to be thinking, “Soft – core cyber – porn flick, good for a bunch of guys on a Friday night!” Um, no. This movie is about the farthest thing from this description. Teknolust is actually a chick flick. Seriously. So in marketing it as they have, the distributor has ensured that NOBODY who actually might be interested in watching this movie will ever see it. But to reiterate:

    • Teknolust has no lust in it, or nudity for that matter
    • Teknolust has no robots, as depicted on the cover
    • Teknolust has no real science aspect to it. It has fantasy science.
    • Teknolust doesn’t take place in the future


    Teknolust screen capture


    The Actual Story: Teknolust is about this nerdy, introverted genetics scientist who, because her entire family died in an accident when she was young, has decided to replicate herself into artificial life-forms who live inside her microwave (actually a computer screen). These digital lifeforms somehow are able enter into the real world by a magical doorway – one of which does this to go get sperm by seducing people into quick blow-jobs (they don’t show anything at all though – not even kissing). She takes the sperm back to the scientist (also not shown), who then makes some sort of drink out of it, which the semi-VR versions of her then drink to sustain themselves (it was never really clear what these chick’s apartment was made out of – it seemed partially virtual and partially real).


    Teknolust screen capture


    Unfortunately, in getting sperm from their hosts (through protected sex – the condom is kept to keep the sperm for later use), they somehow infect the sperm donor with a virus that ends up rendering them impotent, and leaves a red rash between their eyes. We later learn that this is in fact a random computer virus that somehow got attached to the SRA’s, which was later passed through their fingernails (I’m guessing) to the unlucky guys.


    Teknolust screen capture


    Questions You Might Ask: Why do VR beings (SRAs) need sperm for sustenance? How is it that they can go from their bizarre, color-matched virtual world to the real world, you ask? How do these SRA chicks wave their arms at a TV screen and change the entire direction of the stock market, you ask? How do computer viruses, which apparently are similar to real viruses, randomly form, you ask? And more to the point, how do computer viruses “jump hosts” to people??? All good questions, but unfortunately, Teknolust doesn’t think they are deserving of answers. This is all good natured fairy sci-fi fluff, but at least they don’t take it seriously.


    Teknolust screen capture

    The one cool visual involves one of the SRA’s online portals. Here it is. Enjoy.


    The Bottom Line: In the end, Teknolust is about one of the VR chicks finding love in the real world, and the nerdy scientist finally doing the same. None of this is intended to be believed. Instead the sci-fi façade is just there to provide a strange avenue into an average chick-flick story. Why the sperm thing is here, I’ll never know. Truly, they’d have been better off using something like strange touches that generate electric energy or something – this would serve the same purpose, would make more sense in the context of the narrative, and would then be something that matched the intended audience. At least Tilda Swinton delivers fine performances in all four of her roles (nerdy scientist and three VR chicks). This movie probably deserves at least 5 or 6 stars just for quality, but I’m knocking some off due to the misleading nature of the marketing. Bottom line, if you like strange chick flicks, this might be your movie. Otherwise, pass.


    ~See movies similar to this one~

    This post has been filed under 4 Star Movies, It's Not Cyberpunk! Mkay? by SFAM.


    April 15, 2006

    Kana said:

    There was a movie Cyber Wars released this week to DvD. It is from 2004.

    Case said:

    First off, I’d definitely have to agree with you that this is wildly mis-marketed. I’m assuming the half-human, half-android face on the cover was to simply rope people into thinking it’s a “Robocop”-style sci-fi thriller, which it clearly is not. However, all-in-all, you really can’t blame the film itself for the bad marketing decisions.

    Otherwise, I’d have to agree with you on just about everything else. I thought this was definitely interesting enough to warrant at least one viewing, but I can’t see it making anyone’s top-ten lists. I wouldn’t go so far as to say it’s not CP altogether, as it does involve synthetic humans (I saw this the same day as “Robot Stories” and found they were very much in the same vein).

    I pieced together most of the story with my own theories, so that may have helped the slight enjoyment factor on my part. For instance, they need sperm to live because they were spawned from Rosetta, a female, alone, so they need to male gene carried in the sperm. However, since sperm can carry both the male and female genes (or determining factor), it would have been interesting to add a subplot about how sometimes the elixir that keeps them alive was “female-heavy” and the clones would begin dissipating regardless, resulting in Ruby having to “try again.”

    I also didn’t think the clones lived in any sort of “virtual world,” but rather their own bonafide private rooms adjacent to the geneticist’s “lab.” As for the film not answering every little question, well, to some it’s frustrating, to others it’s fascinating and ripe for debate…a’la “Blade Runner.”

    I’d probably rate this just slightly higher than you, but I agree it’s not for everyone. And I’m certainly not defending it as any sort of masterpiece (as I had many of the same problems with it as you), but at least it has an original approach to an interesting concept. Besides, it has one great line: “Re-creation is recreation.”

    SFAM said:

    Hi Case, if it weren’t for the deceptive marketing, I would probably rate this at 6 stars (I mention this in my conclusion), so I agree that the movie itself is better than a four star movie. I agree though that the marketing decisions probably infuriate dthe director far more than me, as it meant that it’s target audience would probably never watch it..

    Although, the issue with it being cyberpunk or not is that all of this was fairy science. None of it was even attempted to be explained, nor was any of it consistent throughout. The film makers really didn’t take the science seriously at all, as evident from the SRA waving at the TV screen and changing the stock market.

    Regarding whether they were in adjacent rooms or not, two things made me question this (although I was really never sure): The doorway that was opened was just that - a doorway, with absolutely no room on the other side. Also, they mention the amount of enegy you need in order to venture into the real world. On top of this, their rooms are made to look completely artificial - I can’t see the nerdy science chick coming up with that color scheme. I could be wrong about this though - but to me, it seemed that they almost enjoyed making their location non-specifically real or fake.

    SFAM said:

    Kana said: “There was a movie Cyber Wars released this week to DvD. It is from 2004.”

    Hi Kana, welcome to cyberpunkreview :)

    I just checked the link out on Amazon - this movie definitely seems to fit. Thanks for telling us about it. :)

    April 17, 2006

    Kana said:

    Yeah sorry for posting here…not sure where to post it at…

    SFAM said:

    No problem, Kana - I appreciate you letting me know. In answer to where to post this, a lot of people make those kind of suggestions in the meatspace (there is a thread for this exact purpose), but in terms of blog entries, many also seem to be using the “Movies by decade” page for them.

    November 27, 2010

    Mizne said:

    sounds awful. But personally I like more psychological, more scientifically explicit material. Thanks for the review!

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