Making the Grades
If you like Arnold Schwarzenegger, then you could be doubly happy with The 6th Day. Not only does Schwarzenegger both produce and star in this sci-fi action film, but he also gets twice the screen presence out of a story that looks at the possibilities and ethics of human cloning.
Schwarzenegger's character is Adam Gibson, the owner of an upscale helicopter adventure-tour company. Arriving home late on the night of his birthday party, Adam glimpses his family through the window and discovers he is already inside eating cake. If that isn't surprising enough, moments later he finds himself captured by thugs intent on destroying him. By some mistake he has been cloned and because this is a highly illegal activity, one of his copies must die.
In order to save his own life, Adam must discover who is behind this fraud. His quest will force him to battle one of the richest men in the world (Tony Goldwyn) and a highly respected genetic scientist (Robert Duvall). Fortunately his clone is the perfect partner to back him up.
Parents may find The 6th Day presents an unfortunate mix of excellent and unnecessary elements for them to pick through when considering the suitability of this movie for their teens. The attractive futuristic setting where believable technology is integrated into surroundings from our present time adds to the credibility of a solid script that contains enough surprises to keep audiences riveted for over two hours. But Schwarzenegger (who recently criticized media violence in the press, and even has a line denouncing it within this movie) finds ample opportunity to use his high-tech weapons with the perfect excuse of eliminating evil clones.
The excessive and graphic scenes (including a man shot in the head, another falling to his death and others with legs and hands dismembered) are interspersed with sexual situations. There are two cases of female nudity (seen from the back and side), one of which depicts a holographic projection of a sensuous woman used to stimulate a man. Even more disappointing is the script's inclusion of vulgar sexual references.
In a closing scene, while fighting with his clone, Adam defends God and the importance of leaving the decisions of life and death in his hands. A fine comment, but after wading through two hours of violence and sex, I left convinced that one Schwarzenegger is hard enough to fit into a PG-13 movie--let alone two.
Discussion Ideas After The Movie
Teaching ideas and topics to discuss about The 6th Day (2000).
The cloning of pets and humans portrayed in The 6th Day may sound fantastic, but fact may be stranger than science fiction. Check out www.missyplicity.com and read about a family that really has hired a team of scientists to clone a beloved pet. And according to the press material released with this movie, British Telecom is in the early stages of developing a memory chip that can record neural messages within the brain.
What are your feelings about cloning? Should we clone human organs? Would cloning complete human bodies be unethical?
On November 5, 2000, Hollywood.com reported the following:
Schwarzenegger’s new movie “The 6th Day,” which opens Nov. 17, has been given a PG-13 rating after the star insisted on a smaller body count and less bad language in the movie. “Do I want my children watching incredible violence? No. You have to be more careful with these things,” Schwarzenegger has said.
While Schwarzenegger’s movies are generally rated R, do you think he achieved his goal of protecting children from “incredible” violence by making this movie accessible to a younger audience? Do parents and families have a responsibility to “be more careful with these things”?