Rampage + Discussion PG

Detail from the poster for the movie Rampage. Dwayne Johnson stands next to an oversized gorilla while city buildings explode and helicopters look down on the carnage.
01 June
Arc Cinema
Free (bookings essential)
Dir: Brad Peyton, PG, United States, 2018, 107mins, DCP,

If animals like you, they lick you. If animals hate you, they eat you. You always know where you stand. 

What happens when gene editing runs amok? The 2018 American sci-fi action-adventure monster movie Rampage – adapted from the video game series and starring Dwayne Johnson – offers a scenario where mutated animals destroy Chicago. Almost.  

The film explores contemporary advances in biotechnology – specifically around CRISPR-based gene editing and synthetic biology – and offers plenty of thought-provoking questions about the future of these newfound possibilities to engineer life.  

Such questions revolve around: the potential for both benefit and harm and the trade-offs involved; the role of power, property and private corporations; and the differences, if any, between biomedical and environmental applications of emerging biotechnologies.  

Join us after the movie for a fun discussion about new forms of life, and the future of life itself! 


Dr Dan Santos is a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Australian National Centre for the Public Awareness of Science. Broadly, he is interested in examining the social, economic and environmental dimensions of emerging biotechnologies, especially with respect to questions around innovation, public engagement and openness in science. Recently, this has included biohacking, synthetic biology, and stem cells. He is also a big movie buff, and in a former life – prior to his PhD – enjoyed writing movie reviews. 

Dr Aiden Beauglehole has been studying or working in science for the past 12 years, with the past 8 focusing on synthetic biology. Aiden completed his Masters in Biotechnology at RMIT where he utilised the genetic engineering technique CRISPR to study anaesthetics. He then went on to complete his PhD at the University of Queensland studying the production of high-value biopharmaceuticals such as anti-cancer and blood-clotting drugs. He is currently a post-doctoral fellow at the Australian National University where he is using genetic modification techniques to improve enzyme production in bacteria for recycling plastic. He is also the Canberra node leader for the science group Synthetic Biology Australasia.   

Dr Anna-Sophie Jürgens is a Lecturer in Popular Entertainment Studies at the Australian National Centre for the Public Awareness of Science and the Head of the Popsicule – ANU’s Science in Popular Culture and Entertainment Hub. Her research explores the cultural meanings of science. 

This screening is part of the SCIENCE. ART. FILM. series presented by the National Film and Sound Archive, Australian National Centre for the Public Awareness of Science and ANU Humanities Research Centre.



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