Even Hugh Jackman's indisputable star power can't light up the pretentious, pseudo-poetic, sci-fi murk that is "Reminiscence," a thundering misfire you can see in theaters or on HBO/Max, though I can't think of a single reason you should make the effort.

It's no crime to create a movie that wishes it were "Blade Runner" or something intriguingly opaque by Christopher Nolan. Screenwriter Lisa Joy, making her directing debut with this clammy calamity, is married to the "Inception" virtuoso's brother, producer Jonathan Nolan, with whom she created the hit HBO series "Westworld." Lightning has not struck twice.

Jackman plays Nick Bannister, a private eye in a dystopian future where Miami is sinking in the ocean and only the rich can afford dry land. Nick operates an immersion tank where he guides clients to relive their not always happy pasts. His partner is Watts (the reliably terrific Thandiwe Newton), an ex-military pal buddy from an unspecified border war, whose love he spurns.

PHOTO: Thandiwe Newton, left, and Hugh Jackman in a scene from "Reminiscence."
Ben Rothstein/Warner Bros. Pictures via AP
Thandiwe Newton, left, and Hugh Jackman in a scene from "Reminiscence."

Miami is so choking hot that everyone stays inside till dark, which makes for great, hothouse atmospherics. It's the lack of fun that's stifling. Joy saddles Jackman with overripe voice-over narration meant to evoke Bogart in film noir classics. Instead, the verbalizing violates the rule of "show don't tell" by telling us everything and then repeating it until we want to scream.

Download the all new "Popcorn With Peter Travers" podcasts on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Tunein, Google Play Music and Stitcher.."You're going on a journey to a place in time you knew before" intones Nick, who fits each client with electrodes. We see what they see in hologram flashes. By the time Nick says, "memory is the boat that sails against time's current and I'm the oarsman," I was ready to bail.

Things perk up when femme fatale Mae (Rebecca Ferguson) slinks in. Someone describes Mae as "an idea wrapped in a tight dress." Nick's idea is to make frisky memories with her. But the Ferguson/Jackman chemistry is even dimmer here than it was in "The Greatest Showman."

So that's a bummer. When Mae vanishes after she bewitches Nick with a torch song, he goes on an odyssey to find her. That might work if the script didn't go all artsy again by comparing their romance to the Greek myth of Orpheus and Eurydice. What happened to boy meets girl?

PHOTO: Cliff Curtis, left, and Daniel Wu in a scene from "Reminiscence."
Ben Rothstein/Warner Bros. Pictures via AP
Cliff Curtis, left, and Daniel Wu in a scene from "Reminiscence."

Jackman almost makes you care when Nick dips into his own memory bank to feed his addiction to Mae -- a no-no in the reminiscence business. Such films as "Logan," Les Miserables" and especially the recent "Bad Education" showed the singing-dancing boy from Oz could act with the best of them. And even in a leaky bucket like this one, he fills the screen.

The film's stuporous mood is broken by two dynamite action scenes -- one pitting Nick against drug kingpin Saint Joe (Daniel Wu) and a tank of killer eels and the other a knockdown fight with crooked cop Cyrus Boothe (Cliff Curtis) in an underwater hotel ballroom. It's nice to see Jackman in Wolverine mode. And even nicer that Nick needs a woman to save him. Yay, Watts!

Still, every time Joy throws us a crumb of narrative momentum, she spoils it with highfalutin' babble about how we're all beads on the necklace of time. Oh, please. "Reminiscence" only made me remember other, better movie mindbenders. "Blade Runner" anyone?