Finch Movie Review: Cast Away Meets Short Circuit (But It Works!)
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Review: Finch Is Cast Away Meets Short Circuit, But Works Despite The Obvious Emotional Manipulation

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BY April 29, 2022

Finch Is Apple TV Plus’s latest original movie starring, once again, Tom Hanks. Hanks looks to be very much tied into the streamer, launching one of their first original films, Greyhound, way back in their initial days. Since then, Apple TV Plus has become kind of a heavyweight when it comes to content, featuring an amazing array of originals like Ted Lasso, Foundation, The Morning Show, among many others. Finch is their latest original movie offering, and it all seems very familiar. With only a cast of Hanks, a cute dog and two robots, the movie treads some very familiar territory and is very obvious in its emotional exploitations. But despite it all, it still works as a quick watch to remind us all why Tom Hanks is awesome. So check out this very mildly spoiler-filled Finch movie review to see if this is worth your time.

Finch Movie Review Implies Some Mild Spoilers About The Movie’s Ending

Finch movie review dog Image via Apple TV Plus.

I’ll try to keep this Finch movie review spoiler-free, but I will be discussing the ending, which is foreshadowed throughout. Finch is set in a post-apocalyptic world where a Solar flare has wiped out all the vegetation, crops and sources of food. Throwing the world into despair, humanity turned on each other in order to survive, finishing the job started by the natural disaster. A scientist survived it all, with only a dog and a small robot for company. However, he builds another companion for himself, in the form of a walking and talking robot.

Finch is about how these three characters, the man, the dog and this new robot survive a new threat that drives them out of their refuge and on the road as they attempt to reach safety. The entire story is driven by Finch’s very specific need to have created the robot, and the answer isn’t as obvious as we think. This plot point is really what sets Finch apart from the traditional cutesy robot learning about the world trope that we’ve seen in movies like Short Circuit or Chappie. While still hitting all those expected notes of comedy, lighthearted moments and just overall endearing drama.

Cute Robot Versus Dog Versus Man: Friction Makes for a Fun Apple TV+ Watch

Finch movie review team. Image via Apple TV Plus.

Finch is a lot of fun to watch. Mostly because of the dynamic created between these characters, and, of course, by America’s sweetheart himself, Tom Hanks. Hank’s interaction with the dog and then the robot is reminiscent of his performance in Cast Away. A man alone in a harsh world interacting with something that can’t communicate back. But when he creates a robot that can, things get more interesting.

Now while the movie is very cutesy and funny and sweet, there’s something about the robot that bugs me. A lot. To the point where I can totally see how this one aspect could be a big enough distraction to ruin the movie for some audience members. And that’s the depiction of the robot itself as more of a person and less of a robot.

The Robot In Finch Is Too Human Without Context Or Explanation

Finch movie review Jeff Image via Apple TV Plus.

So when Finch is creating this robot, there’s an elaborate scene in the beginning where he has automated the breaking down of books and digitizing their pages into the computer, then entered into the robot. This is what is presumably the bulk of this robot’s programming, the information contained in these books. However, when the Robot is able to fully walk and communicate with Finch, his vibe is that of a nervous newborn child, than that of a machine. And that’s also where the majority of the humour comes from. And I don’t mean that it’s funny how Baymax from Big Hero 6 is clueless to the world around him, so his depiction is funny in context to that.

The robot in Finch literally acts anxious, fidgeting and walking in place when he’s excited or nervous. Or he slumps his shoulders forward and hangs his head when sad. He eventually communicates ideas like ‘belief’ and provides comfort and emotional support. The robot sits in the corner in the fetal position when upset with Finch. He seems to experience emotions himself, definitely acting through his body language that he’s capable of it. Even though, at no point in the story is it mentioned that he is, or could evolve or be capable of exhibiting human-like behaviours.

While it’s really cute to have to see a raggedy and tired Finch have to deal with this nervous-energy newborn Robot, the logistics of it don’t make much sense. How can a robot believe, or make decisions on impulse and not cold analysis. He is a machine after all? The movie, in the beginning, does explain that his programming wasn’t complete. But that would account for potentially missing information, not the inclusion of such behaviours that are inherently human.

Our Review Of Finch Is Still Positive Despite A Major Movie Distraction

Trio Image via Apple TV Plus.

But despite that gripe about the robot itself, voiced by Caleb Landry Jones, Finch is actually very likeable. Combined with Hanks, the chemistry between the two is dynamite. This often-seen combination of a world-weary character teamed up with a bright-eyed eager robot/alien/child is a proven trope that works wonderfully when executed by talented individuals. And in that sense, Finch is a wonderful little movie that makes the stakes of a post-apocalyptic world a lot more personal and a lot more tragic.

While not perfect, I would recommend Finch to anyone who wants to laugh and smile during a movie in this kind of tragic setting. But a small warning: tears often follow laughter in these situations. And Finch’s ending definitely delivers on that front as well.

Finch is now streaming on Apple TV Plus.

What did you think of Finch? Did you like the cutesy robot formula, or is that too cliched and forced nowadays? Let me know in the comments below.

Featured image via Apple TV Plus.

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Shah Shahid is an entertainment writer, movie critic (so he thinks), host of the Split Screen Podcast (on Apple Podcasts & everywhere else) and filmy father on a mission to educate his girls on decades of film history. Armed with uncontrollable sarcasm and cautious optimism, Shah loves discussing film, television and comic book content until his wife’s eyes glaze over. So save her by engaging him on his own blog at BlankPageBeatdown.com or on Twitter @theshahshahid.

          

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