[Originally published in Movietone News 51, August 1976]
Attention to detail is of the essence in a fantasy film. If fantasy is to have the desired effect, everything hinges on the viewer’s willingness to suspend disbelief and submit to the film’s premises wherever they may take him. But if every shot, every moment, every idea offers only new evidence as to how unlikely the proceedings are, no viewer will sit patient for long. Only the very best science fiction films escape the need to explain and justify themselves. But Ralph Nelson’s Embryo seeks to escape it through the back door, by disclaiming any affiliation with science fiction. An opening title assures us that this film is about the possible abuses of things which are already medical possibilities. The disclaimer might have some effect, were it not for Nelson’s inattention to detail, which repeatedly emphasizes the film’s hokiness to the total exclusion of whatever credibility the Thomas-Doohan screenplay might have had to begin with.