US/Spain, 2014, 109 minutes, Colour.
Antonio Banderas, Dylan Mc Dermott, Melanie Griffith, Robert Forster, Tim Mc Inerney, Geraldine Summerville. Voice of Javier Bardem.
Directed by Gabe Ibanez.
Automata is an unusual science fiction film, a co-production between Spain and the United States. It had very limited cinema release. And yet, it is the material of so many films about robots, robotics and the possibilities of robots developing themselves – at the same time, Alex Garland’s Ex Machina was released, a story on testing whether robots could have real feelings or could simulate real feelings.
The tradition on film was developed by such films as Blade Runner or novels by Philip K. Dick, as well as Asimov stories like I, Robot, and Steven Spielberg’s’s AI, Artificial Intelligence.
The central character is played by Antonio Banderas supported by an American cast. The film is visually arresting, a post-apocalyptic future, dystopian society, humans versus robots. It is 2044, there are only 21 million humans surviving, the robots have been programmed to help rebuild the world, cannot harm humans and cannot change themselves. A crisis rises when a policeman shoots one of the robots, allegedly in self-defence, and Banderas, as an inspector, is commissioned to investigate the case.
This also means that there are elements of the thriller along with the science fiction and the futuristic themes.
1. The futuristic theme? Science fiction? Apocalyptic world? Dystopia?
2. Robotics? The movie tradition, I, Robot, Blade Runner, the films of Philip Dick? The robots in this future? Helping humans? The Pilgrim series? The protocols and origins? The skill and invention? Beyond the human?
3. Sets, decor, imagining the future? Costumes? The city? The desert, the mountains? The warehouse? Business offices? Vision of a future?
4. The musical score, the use of classic music?
5. The humans, Jacq, his job, appearance and age? Insurance, examining the robots, the rules and protocols? The robot being shot by Sean? The discussions with Robert? His task? Tired, wanting a transfer? Rachel, his relationship, her pregnancy, the tensions, her decision? Jacq and his being on call? His personality?
6. Sean, like the western gunslinger, police, arrogant attitudes, confrontation with the robot, shooting it? His relationship with the authorities, company, encounters with Jack, clashes, further shootings? His death?
7. Jacq Venturing out, warned not to, being shot at, the confrontation with Sean? Meeting Dupre, Cleo and the robots? Her ideas, her death? His being taken, by the robots, needing water? The search for the mind behind the robots in the protocols, the assumption that the protocols were from humans, not from the robots and their advances? The shooting?
8. The office, the boss and ruthlessness, the discussions about the protocols, Robert and his amazement? Robots’ power and control? Intelligence beyond the human? The risk to the humans if the robots took power?
9. The pursuit, the vehicle, ruthless shootings? Rachel, having given birth? Being abducted, the baby? Held as hostages?
10. Jacq, the encounter with the robots, being led by Cleo? Meeting the intelligent robot, and surprised? Genial and friendly? And the pursuers? The boss and his arrogance? Robert shocked, his warning to Jacq?
11. The robots, their help in fixing the car? Confrontation by the official? The official, his pursuit to the roof, his fall into his death?
12. Cleo, the dance the possibilities of emotion? Rescuing Rachel and going to the sea?
13. The futuristic vision, the machines? The role of robots? The relationship with humans?