Utopia (2020) Review

The latest remake to hit our small screens comes from Amazon Studios and best-selling author and award-winning screenwriter, Gillian Flynn (Gone Girl, Sharp Objects). Tackling Dennis Kelly’s acclaimed 2013 cult British sci-fi series is an ambitious feat, however with the show’s darkly comic impending apocalypse tale, it certainly feels like more of a topical time for the series to be released!

Utopia centres on a group of friends who chat online around their shared love and fascination of underground graphic novel Utopia. The foursome find themselves in a dangerous cat-and-mouse chase with a shady deep state organisation when they discover the conspiracy to be true, and they’re reluctantly tasked with saving the world.

Three of the main characters in Amazon Prime's Utopia

Where the UK original went with virtual unknowns in its cast, with The Thick Of It’s Paul Higgins being the biggest name, the US version has decided to follow suit aside from Hollywood veteran John Cusack and The Office’s Rainn Wilson. The cast as a whole are very strong, putting in powerful performances, helped with a sharp, snappy and clever script from Flynn. The series also doesn’t shy away from the more grisly violence displayed in the UK version, which originally attracted controversy.

It’s a much more polished production (thanks to the bigger budget) than its British counter-part, but also retains a strong element of the charm that made the original so enjoyable to watch. However, as entertaining as I found this, I fear it may not have the rewatchability factor of the UK version, but that does remain to be seen. I have been known to be wrong from time to time (I once (not so) famously claimed that Superbad was one of the worst ‘comedies’ I had ever seen and that its young cast would sink without a trace…!)

Verdict

Fans of a terrific UK series always have a sense of trepidation when the Americans get their clutches onto something and decide to put their own spin on it. There’s plenty of examples as to why this feeling has credence, but there should be no pangs of panic where Utopia is concerned. This is an exciting, thrilling, pulsating adventure which will captivate existing and undoubtedly new fans to this story.

Rating:

Utopia launches on Amazon Prime on 25th September