Apple are, so it appears to me, are still trying to find their feet when it comes to AppleTV+. You may say it’s a scattergun approach: comedies, musicals, dramas, teenage and more.
There’s a sci-fi lean to a few of their programs, no bad thing, and on the movies front they have, after paying lots of money for the Tom Hanks movie Greyhound, seemingly forged a bit of a relationship with the Hollywood a-lister.
Their second collaboration, if you can call them that, is Finch, from the minds of first-time writer Craig Luck and veteran producer Ivor Powell (“Alien”, “Blade Runner”) with Miguel Sapochnick (“Game of Thrones (TV)”, “Altered Carbon (TV)”) behind the camera.
It’s the story of Finch Weinberg, Tom Hanks (“News of the World”, “A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood”), one of the last people left alive after a massive solar-flare has wiped out great swathes of the o-zone layer, an EMP also knocked out anything electrical.
Finch, an electrical engineer, has survived with his dog Goodyear and a rolling robot with an extending arm. He avoids people, doesn’t trust them, avoids the night, because people hide in it and avoids the daylight, because it’s 150 degrees and burns you instantly. There’s also an unhealthy dose of radiation knocking around, in the atmosphere and Finch’s body.
However, the storms that plague this sand-covered Earth are getting worse and a few are about to converge on his location so they need to leave. Finch is forced to fast-forward his build of his latest robotic companion, a bipedal, android-esq robot he’s been working on for a while.
Jeff, as the robot becomes known, voiced by Caleb Landry Jones (“Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri”, “American Made”) (and no-doubt he provided Hanks someone to act against), is finding his feet in the world, as well as his place, and learning, well, everything, adding to his four directives.
The quartet set out towards the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco in an upgraded RV. They cross the country, all abandoned buildings, sand everywhere and searing heat and high radiation.
Finch meanwhile is getting more and more sick and knows he doesn’t have long. That’s why he made one of Jeff’s directives to look after Goodyear when he’s no longer around.
Simply put, Finch is an absolute triumph. Tom Hanks is brilliant as Finch. We know he can carry movies, as we’ve seen with Castaway for example, and here he takes us through a range of emotions as Finch starts as a comedy really, it’s laugh out loud funny, particularly as Jeff is finding his way and the interaction between him and Finch.
But for as much comedy as we get, there’s also plenty of poignant drama; Finch telling us the things he’s seen in the early days of the world ending, or his obvious love for Goodyear, or how it isn’t perhaps all down to a solar-flare that’s left the world in a state.
If that wasn’t enough, Luck and Powell give us an absolute tear-jerker to end on, but also happy tears to end on (no spoilers), it’s a rollercoaster of emotions and it’s all good, really good.
I hear that there is a reboot of Short Circuit potentially on the way, but it’s movies like Finch that prove precisely why we don’t need reboots. With Finch we can see, when given the chance, writers can create something truly wonderful and I’m pleased to say they’ve done just that. Magical.
5th November 2021
THE QUICK SELL
Tom Hanks is Finch, a man who embarks on a moving and powerful journey to find a new home for his unlikely family—his beloved dog and a newly created robot—in a dangerous and ravaged world.