Automata is a science fiction film staring Antonio Banderas. Directed by Gabe Ibanez and written by Ibanez along with Igor Legaretta Gomez and Javier Sanchez Donate. It’s about Jacq Vaucan (Banderas) who’s an insurance agent for a robot manufacturing company, while on assignment he finds a robot that’s ignored protocols and has modified itself, what he discovers causes waves in the company and society at large.
The good; I love the world that they’ve created here. There’s a mixture of A.I., I, Robot, and Blade Runner. I thoroughly enjoyed being in this world, the atmosphere is bad, the rains are harmful, and robots are everywhere. The first two acts are pretty solid, there’s only a couple of times where the pacing slows down.
The special effects on the robots are awesome, they used practicals, which I applaud them for. In the film the robots are called Pilgrims, they have a look that’s not new, you really get the sense that these pilgrims have been around for a while. I just love the designs of these pilgrims, they seem believable that they would actually exist and function.
The question of what happens when a machine achieves sentience isn’t new to science fiction, but in Automata they handle it in a way that seems possible as if it were happening today.
And I love the nod to 2001: A Space Odyessy at the end of the credits.
The bad; the third act of the film is a little too nebulous. There isn’t a sense of logic as to what’s going on. Everyone makes it out to the radiation soaked desert, the pilgrims are going there to escape the humans, but they’re also there to start and create a new life? I wasn’t that impressed with what they created. Then you have the corporate thugs pursuing Vaucan and the pilgrims… their only purpose was to destroy the sentient pilgrims? That’s it? Their motivation needed a bit more, and if the would’ve stated to us, the audience, what their plan was, that would’ve been better. It didn’t have to be a plan I agreed with, but it needed to be clear.
The trailer for this film seemed to have more substance than the actual product that we received.
Overall, I enjoyed this film despite my criticisms and I realize that this isn’t a movie for everyone, but it is for me. The film is very non-Hollywood in that it isn’t mindless action, ala I, Robot (I like Alex Proyas’ body of work, but I blame I, Robots lackluster quality on 20th century fox, not him, that’s another conversation) the movie just ends and its left up for our interpretation. After seeing Automata I discussed it with my friends, so it got our brains thinking and that I enjoyed as well. If you have a chance to catch Automata I would hope you take a chance and see something out of the typical popcorn fare.