Autómata (2014)

Ever see Blade Runner? Well, the guys who wrote this movie had also seen Blade Runner, and they thought that they could make something similar, but with updated effects and with Antonio Banderas instead of Harrison Ford. I can't say it's a bad idea - the original Blade Runner is a classic and doing a proper update might not be a terrible thing (and they are planning on doing that very thing right now). The problem is that this movie tries too hard to be a cult classic.

The visuals of this movie are very nice. The framing and the mood - just everything drips with the same kind of stylized future dystopia that Blade Runner had - even down to the miserable rain and the brightly colored neon lights. The design of the robots is very stylistic and actually pretty reminiscent of I, Robot - another book (and film) that I really enjoyed that this movie borrows from pretty heavily. 

The robots have two rules (not three) that include not harming humans and not augmenting themselves. From there, we have the same general suspicion of the ubiquitous anthropomorphic robots that you usually get when you have the robot uprising sitting somewhere in the wings. I don't think I'm giving too much away, as the words they put on the screen at the beginning of the movie (yes, they use that tired tool) are ominous and foreboding.

The issue with this movie is hard to put my finger on. It's not that it's a bad movie, but it doesn't break ground, and it feels hollow. The company that makes the robots is run by imbeciles who jump to conclusions without enough information and order the deaths of their own robot-policing agents seemingly at the drop of a hat. Antonio is an insurance investigator working for this company, and he is tasked with investigating any supposed violations of the two principles. It is in this capacity that he is ultimately dragged across the radioactive desert to find out how he fits into the robots' plans.

Also, I can't overlook Melanie Griffith's appearance in this movie. I almost didn't recognize her. She appears to have had quite a bit of plastic surgery. Not as much as, say Barry Manilow or Renée "What Has She Done To Her Face" Zellweger, but it is pretty clear she has had a LOT of work done. She acts pretty well in this movie, but I couldn't help but be distracted by that face.

Acting was good
Directing was good
Cinematography was excellent
Story was weak
Dialogue was moderate

Bottom Line: A movie trying too hard to be more than it is and what it should be.



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