Saturday, December 27, 2014

Movie Review: Automata

Your vacuum has come down from the tree...

Finally a science fiction movie that examines the relationship of robotic evolution and human extintion that doesn't cram robophobia down our throats! Automata had a very limited release earlier this year and hopefully will see a wider release sometime next year. If you're looking for big budget robo-pacalypse this movie is not for you. I found the hypothetical dystopian future believable and the story of Jacq Vaucan and his journey with Cleo the self aware robot through the desert wastelands to find sanctuary from humanity quite thought provoking.
The movie did have some intelligent contrasts which were subtly hinted at like when Dr. Dupre explains that she spliced two biokernals together and it installed it in Cleo the result was no longer Cleo the sexbot but a new self aware robotic life form which I found to be an interesting contrast against Jacq's pregnant wife who was carrying a new human life created by the combination of Jacq and Rachel's sperm and egg.

This contrast reminded me of the conversation between Makoto Kusanagi and Project 2501 in the first GiTS movie,

Puppet Master: I refer to myself as an intelligent life form because I am sentient and I am able to recognize my own existence, but in my present state I am still incomplete. I lack the most basic processes inherent in all living organisms: reproducing and dying.
Major Motoko Kusanagi: But you can copy yourself.
Puppet Master: A copy is just an identical image. There is the possibility that a single virus could destroy an entire set of systems and copies do not give rise to variety and originality. Life perpetuates itself through diversity and this includes the ability to sacrifice itself when necessary. Cells repeat the process of degeneration and regeneration until one day they die, obliterating an entire set of memory and information. Only genes remain. Why continually repeat this cycle? Simply to survive by avoiding the weaknesses of an unchanging system.
Puppet MasterIt can also be argued that DNA is nothing more than a program designed to preserve itself. Life has become more complex in the overwhelming sea of information. And life, when organized into species, relies upon genes to be its memory system. So man is an individual only because of his intangible memory. But memory cannot be defined, yet it defines mankind. The advent of computers and the subsequent accumulation of incalculable data has given rise to a new system of memory and thought, parallel to your own. Humanity has underestimated the consequences of computerization.

Now this quote regarding memory is interesting when used in context with Automata, Jacq has memories of the beach as a youth or are they dreams? And aren't dreams influenced by memory? Are Jacq's memory of the beach his own? I always prefer when movies leave things like this unanswered, leting the audience come to their own conclusions.

Automata also touched upon the oft discussed idea that God created Mankind in his image, Mankind evolved to a point where they thought they no longer needed God due to technology, Mankind created Machines in their image from technology....what happens when machines evolve to the point they no longer need us? 
Another fascinating conversation that inevitably concludes with robo-pocalypse....Terminator, The Animatrix: The Second Renaissance, Promethius (David8) etc.
As I stated before if you're looking for Sci-fi like Bayformers, Oblivion or PacRim this isn't for you, but if you like sci fi films such as Gattaca, Europa Report and District 9 definitely look for Automata! Also there's another film coming out in 2015 with Oscar Issac,  Ex Machina that looks like promising.

For more about Automata check out


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