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Film Review: Automata (2014)
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stainsteelrat
Automata (2014). Co-written and directed by Gabe Ibáñez. The film is set in 2044, after solar storms have reduced most of the Earth to a desert, and the human population to 20 million people. Mankind uses millions of robots, made by the ROC corporation, to build walls to protect the cities, and maintain the artificial weather system. The robots are built to obey two laws. Firstly, to not hurt any humans. Secondly, to not modify themselves. While on an investigation a policeman comes across a robot that is breaking the second law. Jacq Vaucan (Antonio Banderas), a ROC insurance investigator, is tasked with figuring out what the robot was doing. Ever since seeing the (excellent) trailer for Automata I was intrigued. But against a background of lacklustre reviews I was expecting to be disappointed. Thankfully, I wasn't. Whether intentional or not there are a number of cues from other fiction, including the inevitable Asimov books in loose terms, and films such as Blade Runner and Until the End of the World. I was reminded a lot of the latter, as it felt like the film was very much a labour of love on a low budget, although it doesn't show too much. On this basis it might seem like an unoriginal property, but it manages to take all this and still do something original and interesting with it. I found the story, albeit not always fast paced, to be laced with atmosphere. This was helped by fantastic locations and sets, that conveyed a grimy future world, rather than a white shiny one. Antonio Banderas is excellent in the lead role - it's good to see him playing a tough genuine role - and surrounded by a wonderful and eclectic international cast. The special effects are also great, for the budget, and inevitably in your face a lot of the time in the form of the excellent robots. Clearly the robots are a mix of puppetry and CG, but it's hard to spot the join, and they work brilliantly as what are often key characters. There is a classic orchestral soundtrack that blends well with the rest of the film. So I'm somewhat bewildered as to why this film has, overall, got such poor reviews to-date. It's very much the smaller science fiction film, relying on story and characters, rather than set pieces and explosions. If you like that then definitely give it a try. 5/5 (Excellent)
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This sounds like my sort of thing. I'll put it on the list!

I look forward to hearing what you think of it!

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