Anna to the Infinite Power” is a 1982 movie about a young woman who learns that she is the clone of a scientist in the hope of recreating that genius. It isn’t as well known as the movie “Boys from Brazil” that tapped into Mengele’s real-life horror show and fear that the Nazis were trying to make a literal comeback. Yet the two movies share a number of similarities.

Similarities between the Two Movies

  • Each group creates multiple clones of the desired subject in the hope of getting one right.
  • The groups raising the clones are truly broad conspiracies, involving multiple families and researchers. And multiple murdered parents to maintain control the program.
  • Each nods at the nurture side of the nature/nurture argument by trying to recreate the same family structure and environment.
  • In both movies, a hero/heroine fights to protect the children, arguing that they’re mere children and genetics isn’t destiny.
  • Both movies are set several decades ago, when cloning was a near-future technology, not something we did routinely with livestock. The only constant is debating the ethics of doing it with children.
  • Unlike “Never Let Me Go” or “Blade Runner”, the clones are raised in normal human families and legally human. They’re still subject to insane expectations, but not seen as inhuman.
  • Unlike “Multiplicity”, “Blueprint” and “Womb”, neither presents a literal Oedipus complex or competition for the same lover. That is in part because all children are already raised in stable two parent families instead of former lovers or their genetic source.

Differences between the Movies

  • “Anna” stands out as a unique case of trying to clone a female genius, whereas many movies assume it is going to be a male leader/scientist. The closest work to it is “Cyteen”.
  • “Anna to the Infinite Power” surrenders to the trope that the clone inherits memories; the more recent clone movie “The Island” made this mistake but took it much, much further.
  • The original Anna was a Jewish genius in Nazi Germany, while the “Boys from Brazil” are obviously intended to be the opposite.

Summary

That minor changes in family structure like having an older brother or active mentor can undo careful social engineering and genetic engineering suggests environment does play a major role in development. Genes aren’t everything, but we’re not infinitely malleable. The reality of human development is somewhere in the middle. Even these movies on cloning admit that through the careful design of environment they create, though that is hardly discussed elsewhere.

Despite their similarities and shared timeframe, I consider “Anna to the Infinite Power” the better movie because it better represents the hopes and fears of such a cloning project without same horror of “let’s literally bring back Hitler”.