Never work with children or animals… apparently Tom Hanks didn’t receive the classic Hollywood memo, and the audience is better off because of it. Hanks’ latest movie, featuring a scene-stealing dog and a child-like humanoid robot, was originally titled BIOS and scheduled for a big-screen premiere. With the nationwide closure of many movie theaters during the worldwide pandemic, the film was renamed Finch and recently released on Apple TV+.
In this world, a solar flare may have turned the planet’s ozone layer into Swiss cheese, but humanity is to blame for wiping itself out.
Finch Weinberg (played by Hanks) has been busy at work deep within his underground bunker. Having previously built a wheeled robotic scavenger (Dewey), Finch’s primary goal is to ensure his beloved canine friend (Goodyear) survives this vast wasteland. However, before he can fully upload the necessary knowledge for his newly built humanoid robot (later named Jeff) to fully take care of the pet dog, 15 separate weather events combine for a 155-mph super storm that leads this ragtag crew to flee to a sheltered area in San Francisco.
There’s nothing quite like a post-apocalyptic road trip with man’s best friend and two robots for companionship…
For a while, at least, Finch enjoys the silence. But as the story progresses, Jeff’s child-like personality (due to the incomplete data transfer) eventually gets his crew into trouble. Having survived the past 10 years as a scavenger living alone, Finch trusts no one and must’ve had a rough time with people before the shit hit the fan. Jeff the robot’s becoming human while Finch has lost all faith in humanity.
“I know you were born yesterday, but it’s time for you to grow up!”
It doesn’t help matters much that Finch is sick and slowly dying — most likely from radiation poisoning. He’s too old, too sick and too tired to keep on living, but he’s got faith Jeff will learn how to properly take care of Goodyear.
Surviving the apocalypse looks rough. In this world, daylight scenes are washed out, featuring lots of sand and indoor locations include all the necessary details for the storyline to move forward. Hanks’ costume looks great and the special effects are top notch for a disaster zone. At times, the exposition as vocabulary grinds the story to a halt. But with only two actors appearing on the screen the entire time (and a third featured as a voice), there really weren’t too many options for the filmmakers. And frequently, Jeff’s digitized voice (spoken by Caleb Landry Jones) sounds like Borat, which I found amusing.
As a film, Finch borders on politicizing its storyline — which I very much oppose with my entertainment options — but it slowly backs away as details are very briefly revealed as to the cause of the planet’s situation nearly three-fourths into the movie. Mother nature didn’t actually wipe out humanity, the humans finished off themselves.
Overall, this film seems like it’s portraying the perfect scenario during the opening hours of the global pandemic. When it began, I had no problem shifting away from public, large events. I spent (even more) solitary time with my four-legged best friends and cherished every single second of it. Because of this, I was touched by the film’s main theme and cried my eyes out when it was time for Goodyear to say goodbye to his human.
As Executive Producer, Robert Zemeckis (and others) did a fine job in leading this production.
But I really wonder how things could have been for this film. I would have preferred the initial title and I’ve missed seeing Tom Hanks in a must-see movie. It really is too bad Finch didn’t receive a big-screen release and I hope the film can grow an audience via the streamer once the awards season opens up.
I’d be all in for Hanks winning all available acting awards. It can’t be easy to work with a green-screen character, as well as one that barks, and no one else. And how cool would it be for him to receive supporting actor accolades to a robotic, fictional character? Groundbreaking, you might say!
Finch is definitely that.