M3GAN is a modern take on Frankenstein

M3GAN is a surprise box office hit. However, it shares plot and thematic elements with a literary icon: Frankenstein.


The following contains spoilers for M3GAN, now playing in theaters.

Normally, a January release date for a horror film is a bad film dump, although the recent release of M3GAN shows that this is not always the case. The film is a surprise box office hit that is also doing well with critics. The film is about an artificially intelligent robot invented by a programmer named Gemma to be the most advanced toy companion for children. The robot, M3GAN, is paired with Gemma’s niece Cady after Gemma’s sister and her husband are killed in a car accident, leaving Cady in Gemma’s care. The two struggle to bond, but the bond Cady forms with M3GAN is deep and nearly unbreakable.


Science fiction has been fascinated with the concept of scientifically created life existing outside the natural world since the invention of the genre. Frankenstein it is considered the original work of science fiction. The novel was written by Mary Shelley and published in 1818. The titular character is actually a scientist named Victor Frankenstein who breaks with the natural order and uses science and body parts stolen from the dead to create life. While Frankenstein has been adapted for decades, M3GAN it may be one of the purest adaptations of the novel’s themes that emphasize the responsibility of creation and the very nature of humanity.

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How is the plot of M3GAN similar to Frankenstein

Gemma introduces Cady to M3GAN at M3GAN

Gemma is a programmer and inventor who feels unfulfilled and dissatisfied with the normal demands of her job as a toy developer. Her ambition is much greater than that, and she focuses not only her energy, but the attention of her entire team on her personal AI project. Gemma is completely consumed by her ambition and goals, which leads her to be reckless with her career by misappropriating corporate funds to finance her personal project. She is just as destructive in her personal life as she is when she neglects her niece Cady who was recently orphaned and is therefore left in Gemma’s care. Gemma relies on M3GAN, her creation, for a purpose.

Likewise, inside Frankenstein, Victor neglects his medical studies in favor of his own experiments. He becomes completely consumed with his personal agenda in a way that causes him to self-destruct his entire life. Both Gemma and Victor are hunted down and haunted by their creation when their own arrogance and personal failures turn their creations against them. When Victor rejects the creature, the creature is left abandoned and alone in the world, leading him to seek vengeance against its creator. M3GAN also turns against its creator when Gemma threatens M3GAN’s access to Cady. The violence perpetrated by both the creature and M3GAN is a direct result of the actions of their creators.

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The central theme of M3GAN is timeless, thanks to Frankenstein

Frankenstein's monster

It’s not just the basic structure of the plot where M3GAN And Frankenstein share similarities. It’s in their shared themes. Both stories focus on the burden of creation and warn of the dangers of recklessness with technology. M3GAN is paired with Cady too soon, without the proper amount of forethought on Gemma’s part. Gemma is in too much of a hurry to demonstrate the capability of her invention that she doesn’t take the necessary precautions to maintain the integrity of her purpose. Gemma creates life as a form of entertainment and a way to transfer the difficult aspects of human relationships into the hands of technology without considering the fact that the life she is creating may have thoughts and opinions of its own.

Victor is the same way, so preoccupied with the concept of creating life that he doesn’t take the time to consider the responsibility of bringing life into the world. His creature becomes violent and vengeful only after Victor rejects her for her ugliness and abandons her to a world that could never accept her. There is a responsibility to bring intelligent life into the world, and the invention of new technologies is no excuse for neglecting those responsibilities. Both stories share that theme. It is not enough to achieve these scientific results if they are accompanied by a destructive level of negligence.

To see M3GAN follow in the footsteps of Frankenstein, the film is now in theaters.

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