Starring: Antonio Banderas, Dylan McDermott, Melanie Griffith, Robert Forster
Directed By: Gabe Ibanez
Why didn’t this get a theatrical release? Is it because Melanie Griffith looks like she’s been stung by a thousand bees? Or is it because the Expendables 3 didn’t revive Antonio Banderas’s career? Is it because this is kind of a Blade Runner knock off? That can’t be it. Hollywood carbon copies everything all the time with no problem. I mean, just look at The Wedding Ringer (currently in theatres). You don’t think it’s a bit like Wedding Crashers? Or Hitch? I didn’t feel like it was a ripoff, but maybe “lightly inspired” by Blade Runner. It’s frustrating to see a film like this, that really is (visually) a great film, squandered and left to die.
Jacq (Banderas) is an insurance agent who investigates claims involving robots. In this world, people aren’t really supposed to modify their robots. But, Jacq finds himself investigating the case of a modified robot, which leads him to an interesting world of robots involved in the sex trade, and then some robots who might be “free thinkers” and wish to survive on their own. For a film with a reported budget of only 7 million, Gabe Ibanez sure does a lot with very little. In fact, major studios should take note of his talent and ability to produce a good looking sci-fi film on the cheap.
I feel like Automata might get its own little cult following over time, kinda like Snowpiercer will. People will slowly discover it, debate its merits, and recommend it to a friend. The fact that it skipped theatres makes it an oddity, as it seems almost anything can hit at least a few screens nowadays. Hell, Disney releases their Tinkerbell films theatrically overseas, yet IMDB and Box Office Mojo have no information on Automata.
It’s not a perfect film, but I enjoyed it well enough to softly recommend it. It’s interesting, if nothing else, and cool to watch so much being done with so little.
FINAL GRADE: B