We don’t know real-world Jules well enough as a person to gauge her reaction to anything. When George wants J3 to submit to being erased, the development comes with no new information that would clarify how J3 isn’t like Jules, or what new thing he’s expecting out of this point of the experiment. Those are all worthy considerations in this kind of heady science fiction, but Archive’s conversations never go that far beyond the surface, and at times it seems more fulfilling just to watch J2 stump around the facility, communicating pathos with every beautifully designed head-cock and shoulder-slump. Jules died in a car crash years ago just after learning she was pregnant, so George simultaneously lost his wife and child. But he has Jules’ personality stored in an archive, a forbidding black cabinet that recalls the obelisks in 2001: A Space Odyssey. It’s difficult to not read Archive in the wake of Alex Garland’s Ex Machina, another recent story about a possessive tech genius building his perfect woman in captivity. But it’s not a very satisfying conclusion to what had the potential to be a thoroughly excellent movie, not just in the lead-up, but in the payoff. There’s a vague reference to Black Mesa (an aside so brief that it could actually be a Half-Life tie-in), and to other facilities being invaded and destroyed. And he’s working on J3 (also Martin), the latest iteration of his work. Against J3’s advice, George answers it — and finds himself talking to Jules. With this deft and thorough setup, Archive could have been an intelligent, piercing analysis of a thousand possible things — the war between commerce and art, the question of what people owe their children, the limits of control over other people’s lives, the sacrifices that come with love. Tasha Robinson 7/14/2020. But as an unctuous representative (Toby Jones) of the company that designed the archives reminds George, the archives break down over time, and Jules is fast approaching the moment where she’ll only be capable of making one last goodbye call. The design is fabulous — Rothery is credited as the conceptual designer and a visual-effects supervisor on Duncan Jones’ Moon, and Archive features a lot of the same lived-in, detail-oriented environmental aesthetic, plus richly ambitious outdoor camerawork. With such a gorgeous world housing so many vibrant emotions, it’s a particular frustration that Archive doesn’t follow through on any of them. Related The ending of Archive is the beginning of a completely different movie They plan to sue his tech company out of existence. How it Ends, The Divergent Series: Allegiant, Skinwalkers, Underworld: Rise of the Lycans. On top of all this, there are also flashbacks to George’s life before the facility, when he and his wife Jules (Martin yet again) were happy together, and a side plot about the impending failure of the giant black cabinet where her consciousness was archived after she died. The debut feature from Moon’s visual designer is almost fantastic, until it isn’t.

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