Login | Create Account Poll Currency Weather Facebook Youtube Search

Phuket Film Review: Automata

Somone should have told me to bring a blanket and a pillow.

By Jean-Pierre Mestanza

Thursday 16 October 2014, 12:16PM

Operation: Snooze fest

Film: Automata

Starring: Antonio Banderas, Birgitte Hjort Sørensen, Robert Forster, Tim McInnerny, Dylan McDermott, and Melanie Griffith

Director: Gabe Ibáñez

Running Time: 110 minutes


Automata might as well have been a mild form of valium for how boring the middle of the film became. The truth is, there was excitement when I purchased my ticket – the trailer had sold me a futuristic robot film that was a cross between I, Robot and Her.

Instead we got Antonio Banderas giving in a solid performance in a film that lacked simple foundational story elements that would have pulled me from my slumber.

Futsal League 2019

Automata is Spanish director Gabe Ibáñez's second feature film, after toiling for years in a digital production house working on short films. His first feature, Hierro, was a solid effort with emotional depth and great camera work. While Automata showcases more of Ibanez's visual prowess – some shots look flat-out beautiful – the story is simply not enough.

The film takes place in a post-apocalyptic future in which only a few million humans live. These people live in a city that is almost entirely built by robots. These machines have two cognitive principles ingrained into them: 1) do not harm humans 2) do not repair yourself or other robots.

Jacq Vaucan (Antonio Banderas) is an insurance agent for the ROC robotics corporation and discovers that some robots have been able to violate the second rule. From there, the company goes after him to prevent the news from getting out since it could have huge implication on the future of humanity.

Again, Banderas is brilliant in the film as a man who is fed up with his predicament despite playing by the rules. He easily carries Automata with an emotional depth that teeters on madness and desperation. One particular scene stands out, when he is in the desert with a chocolate bar.

What ruined the film was everything else. It began as an interesting look into the applications of robots into our everyday lives (from domestic to even sexual). Eventually, the film starts to get seemingly interesting, only for it to fall flat. Looking back, the film's downfall can be traced back to one person: Melanie Griffith.

As Dr. Dupre, we are supposed to buy Griffith as a genius engineer of robots who went rogue and now works in clandestine fashion. But her teenie-girl, trying-too-hard-to-be-sexy voice betrays any semblance to her character. It immediately took me out of the film and is offensive to the work Banderas had done just before in keeping the audience interested.

In that same vein, Dylan McDermott's performance was too tacky of a portrayal of a hot-headed cop (You don't always have to yell and brood, Dylan!).

Automata is another tale of great expectations with even greater letdown. If there's anything we learned here it's that Banderas' acting chops are solid and that trailer editors have gotten better over the years.  



Comment on this story

* Please login to comment. If you do not have an account please register below by simply entering a username, password and email address. You can still leave your comment below at the same time.

Comments Here:
Comments Left:
# Characters

Be the first to comment.

Have a news tip-off? Click here


Phuket community
B1bn earmarked to improve road safety around schools

The picture says it all. 3 kids on a bike with no helmets and presumably no license (they don't ...(Read More)

Taxi driver charged after collision with motorbike leaves man, 74, dead

Way to set an example and actually improve road safety RTP... not. Spurious charges like this only s...(Read More)

Dogs rounded up at Ao Nang as PM visits Finnish boy dog-attack victim in hospital

Whatever the condition of more than 20 dogs is, they should never be allowed to be again at the beac...(Read More)

B1bn earmarked to improve road safety around schools

See the photo: 3 thai girls on 1 motorbike, no helmets, probably without driving license. And talki...(Read More)

Doubts on pot use linger over amended drug law

Well, a lot of tumbling new rules/laws/bla bla's. contradicting in everything, so, nothing will...(Read More)

Taxi driver charged after collision with motorbike leaves man, 74, dead

Correct application of the law. If you're too lazy to look at the road and what you or others i...(Read More)

Phuket health officials, police unite to enforce Makha Bucha alcohol ban

Dek, you are always talking about how you don't want Thailand to be a Nanny state. Now you are p...(Read More)

Finnish boy, 5, attacked by stray dogs at Ao Nang, Krabi

When will the Thai government stop taking orders from other governments and foreign organizations su...(Read More)

German expat gets eight years jail for slaying Phuket girlfriend

8 Years? You call that justice? I think a bullet in the back of the head would have been a more a...(Read More)

Finnish boy, 5, attacked by stray dogs at Ao Nang, Krabi

Dek, your comment makes no sense. Snakes not attack people when they are not provocated and feel the...(Read More)