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Winnipeg Free Press - Section E - - ARTS & LIFE -

the su­per­hu­man ef­fort makes its way into the lo­cal news­pa­per, it’s his foster par­ents who be­come a bit scared, be­cause it’s clear they’ve been with­hold­ing some cru­cial in­for­ma­tion about their adopted son’s back­ground.

“We made a prom­ise,” the sad-eyed se­nior physi­cian tells his wife when Robert is out of earshot, “that we would keep the boy away from the world, and the world away from him.”

And now, it seems, the prover­bial cat — in this case, of a de­cid­edly ill­tem­pered fe­line va­ri­ety — is out of the bag

Back in Lon­don, an at­tor­ney named Max Utterson (Chris­tian McKay) spots a brief item about Robert’s heroic deed in the news­pa­per, and im­me­di­ately rec­og­nizes the name. Af­ter a bit of of­fice ban­ter that feels very much like a bit from a Monty Python sketch, the lawyer bangs off a let­ter and sends it to Jekyll, re­quest­ing that he travel to Eng­land to set­tle his fam­ily’s es­tate.

Robert is hes­i­tant, and his foster par­ents are ter­ri­fied, but some­how it’s de­cided that he must make the jour­ney. And when he does, Jekyll and Hyde morphs into an odd com­bi­na­tion of the orig­i­nal lit­er­ary tale, The In­cred­i­ble Hulk, Harry Pot­ter, Down­ton Abbey and Penny Dread­ful, in which Lon­don is awash in mon­sters that a top-se­cret govern­ment agency are try­ing to cap­ture and con­trol, and the in­evitable Jekyll/Hyde shifts are the re­sult of a ge­netic con­di­tion trig­gered by anger or anx­i­ety rather than by the ill-ad­vised con­sump­tion of a po­tion.

It’s all a bit silly and a bit hard to swal­low, but this odd amal­gam of on­screen at­ti­tudes also re­sults in a style that can be en­gag­ing and en­ter­tain­ing in an un­ex­pected way.

If you’re look­ing for an up­dated but re­spect­fully faith­ful re­vis­it­ing of Steven­son’s time­less ex­plo­ration of hu­man­ity’s dark side, this new take won’t be for you. But if you’re open to an in­ter­pre­ta­tion that’s a lot more loopy and a lot less lit­er­ary, this Jekyll and Hyde trans­for­ma­tion has the. po­ten­tial to ter­rify you in all the right ways.

CBC

Tom Bate­man stars as Dr. Robert Jekyll in new se­ries that plays havoc with Robert Louis Steven­son’s fa­mil­iar tale.

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