Automata (movie review)


This is a story about a burned out worker who has to track down machines who have broken protocol, and he must destroy them. Wait, is this Blade Runner? Nope. This is Gabe Ibáñez’s Automata.

Set in the near future (2044), an environmental catastrophe killed off over 99.7% of Earth’s population, so they had to build ‘pilgrims’ (robots) to fix everything. These pilgrims follow two rules: 1. Do not harm a human life. 2. Do not alter itself or another robot unit.

Of course, the story wouldn’t be a story without one of those protocols being broken. That’s where Antonio Banderas’ character comes in. Jacq Vaucan is an insurance agent who has to prove cases of robots malfunctioning. He has to figure out how one of the robots broke the second rule and set itself on fire. This leads him on a quest to find out the truth. He goes looking for someone who he thought may had altered them and runs into Dr. Dupre (Melanie Griffin), who has altered one robot to become a pleasure-bot. He then is attacked by the corporation he works for and is saved by the – SURPRISE! – Pilgrims.

The story sounds similar to films like Blade Runner, AI, and I, Robot, the only thing that makes this film a bit different is the cinematography. The scenes were shot beautifully. From the ghetto area of computers to the vast desert shots, the shots of these locations just looked like art. Ibáñez has the artwork down to a key, especially with their mid-size budget.

It’s too bad the same thing couldn’t be said about the film’s content. The film was entertaining, but had a lot of plot holes that left me confused. The film left me with a lot of questions. If I blanked my mind of logic, the film was able to keep my attention. Also, Ibáñez was able make me to feel sympathy for the robots. Even though they must leave the city to prevent from getting killed, they still saved Vaucan. It’s true that this movie has you cheering for the robots, but it falls short in us fully understanding them.

Rating: 2/5 Atoms 

NR 2 Atoms - D


Warning! Major spoilers below.

These are some of the questions I have:

  • So the boss and Vaucan are related by their wives, why did they introduce that in the end and not in the beginning?
  • What was the point of Dylan McDermott’s character? We learned nothing about his life – especially when he said he doesn’t have a wife anymore. No context.
  • If the robot’s area has a high level of radiation, how did Vaucan survive or at least not get sick? He spent a night there!
  • Why weren’t there more robots in that area? Was that main robot there the entire time by itself?
  • If the main robot was able to break the second protocol, why wasn’t he able to attack the men who destroyed him? Especially since their baby robot was able to kill humans.
  • How far away was the desert from the beach area Vaucan wanted to go to?
  • What is Vaucan and his family going to do when they get back home?
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