Roger and I have reviewed sci-fi films here and there, but I feel like they are always horror flicks infused with only a bit of science fiction; they are never purely sci-fi. I think I’ve finally found a film that can fall into that realm of all science, no horror. The film I am referring to is Gabe Ibanez’s stunningly beautiful Automata.
In a future version of the Earth, humans share their surroundings with robots they’ve created to help preserve the remaining survivors. The artificial intelligence in these robots only has two rules, or protocols, to follow — No robot is to harm any living thing and no robot is to alter themselves or any other robot. It is when protocol number two is broken that things start to change and the future of the human race doesn’t seem so certain anymore.
In Automata, director Gabe Ibanez has created a desolate and barren world that is unlike any other we’ve seen before. It is not shiny and new, but full of desert land and grime, and people, along with broken down robots, who scurry along the streets in ghettos everywhere. It is kind of scary to say, but this may very well be a more realistic future than those we’ve seen in past post-apocalyptic genre films. While the majority of this future world is void of any kind of human life and is merely an empty memory of the past, you won’t be able to stop yourself from admiring its beauty. Ibanez and his team of writers, along with every single computer effects artist who worked on this film have really done an amazing job.
Heavily dependent on human puppeteers and green screens, the robots of Automata or ‘automatites’ look astounding. I had no idea how they pulled this off and was amazed when seeing some behind-the-scenes clips during the making-of featurette. I can’t say enough about how great this film looks from start to finish.
To help tell the story effectively, the cast for this film had to be perfect. Fortunately for us, I think we get to see as close to ‘perfect’ as possible. While Antonio Banderas isn’t as big a household name as he perhaps once was, genre fans still get to see him perform in some awesome roles. He is great as ROC insurance agent, Jacq Vaucan, who was just about to take his family to a safer place, before getting tied up in this entire mess. Jacq is a hopeful man who just wants to live without worries and take care of his wife and newborn child. Almost the complete antithesis of Jacq is Wallace, portrayed by Dylan McDermott. Played remarkably well, Wallace is a clunker-despising, drug-abusing cop who was the first to discover a robot repairing itself. He and Jacq try to co-exist for a bit, but this doesn’t last long, creating a sub-conflict among the real, major problems at hand.
Fear of death is always on our minds. I think this is true of every human being on Earth today. We are constantly making advancements in technology to, theoretically, make our lives simpler, so the idea of creating robots to protect us and help us survive is not that far-fetched. What would we then do, if said robots began altering themselves, creating the possibility of becoming far more intelligent than us in a fraction of the time? I think it is a fascinating thought and Ibanez has explored this realm very effectively.
If you are a sci-fi fan and have been looking for the next great genre film, look no further than Automata. Out now from Millennium Entertainment, be sure to pick up a copy on DVD or Blu-ray today!
I give this film 4 moaning prostitute robots out of 5.