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Film Review: Synthetic Me

Directors Susan Lim, Samudra Kajal Saikia, and Christina Teenz Tan present “Synthetic Me” from Alan: The Musical about a lion plushie named Alan who is given a new, synthetic existence by his owner, a teenage scientist, Christina. Singer Matthieu Eymard leads the vocals with arrangement by Joi Baru.

In the number, Alan is ready for a makeover inside and out, and eager for change. As a doll, he is apt for wear and tear, but with newfound sentience thanks to Christina’s ability to wield AI technology, Alan can improve.

Alan’s eagerness is reflected in the bright melody and jazzy music throughout the musical number. The song is optimistic as Alan sings out the desire to have his genetic code written down. With his code recorded, he better can understand himself.

The animation is simple, two-dimensional, and charming. Alan and his owner’s close bond is captured through moments together in a university quad, doing experiments together, and hanging out at home.

The art style mixes impressionist backgrounds with fantastical settings that feature floating DNA helices, even a visual sequence where Alan evisions himself as a superhero. Somehow even with the fantasy it still feels very grounded in the personal relationship between a girl and her doll.

Many kids have probably wondered what it would be like to have their favorite doll come to life. “Synthetic Me” embodies the childlike wonder we all have and leaves us with heartwarming wish fulfillment. Even though Alan is synthetic, the song shows that his synthetic struggle is not unlike humans. Just like a human has a coming of age to learn what kind of person they are, Alan goes on the journey to understand who he is through the process of DNA sequencing.

The jingle is catchy, the visuals are charming, and the characters are relatable. It’s a great musical number for families and children. For adults, it offers a familiar sense of nostalgia. And overall, for everyone, it offers joy.

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