Technology taking over is a common theme in Sci-Fi movies and Automata has its roots in that scenario but also looks at man’s interaction with machines and how he tries desperately to control them.
Automata is set in a post-apocalyptic world where solar storms have ravaged the planet and reduced the population to some 21 million people who live in walled cities. Robots have taken on many human duties. They have two main protocols. The first is never to harm a human. The second is that they cannot alter another robot. Of course when a robot is found to have broken both then the stage is set to stop them becoming intelligent and taking over the world.
Shades of Blade Runner and I-Robot loom over the film and at first look its easy to see why with the gloomy set design and bleak landscapes. The robot design is clever (no CGI here) in that they don’t look human, they are drones but with little touches of humanity thrown in. Antonio Banderas is excellent as the insurance investigator who gets caught up in a battle to stop the robots.
As he unravels the truth, he’s faced with a new reality and a life-and-death scenario that will reshape his opinion of the robots and the people for whom he works. Director Gabe Ibáñez does an overall good job and brings a very European sensibility to the proceedings. A moody thinking man’s Sci-Fi that is definitely worth a look even though it never quite manages to bring it to the levels of its more famous cinematic brothers.
The Blu ray released by Lionsgate has a good if a little washed out 1080p transfer, not sure if this was intended or not but it is certainly toned down colour wise. Not bad but nothing to shout about. Audio is excellent with a Dolby Digital HD 5.1 mix which envelopes the viewer throughout the whole film. Extras are an interview with Mr Banderas and a very short making-of feature.
FILM: 7 PICTURE: 7 AUDIO: 8 EXTRAS: 3