Atlas Movie Review:  Middling sci-fi that leaves much to be desired

Atlas Movie Review:  Middling sci-fi that leaves much to be desired

The lack of originality is occasionally kept at bay by the AI character, Smith, voiced by Gregory James Cohan. The dialogue and music effectively enhance the connection between Atlas and Smith, bringing emotional depth to the scenes
Atlas(2.5 / 5)

In the latest Netflix sci-fi action film Atlas, a human refers to an AI as "It," but the AI corrects the pronoun to "she/her" and takes offence to being called "It". It is a scene that encapsulates our time, both the scientific advancement and the ideological discussions around identity politics. However, the inclusion of such an idea in this film doesn't necessarily add to the complexity or expand its predictable plot. The film doesn't quite leverage anything new out of the genre and its chief utility comes mainly from its repeated attempts at coming across as forward-thinking.

Director: Brad Peyton
Cast: Jennifer Lopez, Simu Liu, Sterling K Brown, Mark Strong
Streamer: Netflix


Atlas is centred on Jennifer Lopez's character, Atlas Shepherd, an analyst with a deep distrust of artificial intelligence, stemming from her childhood experiences. The plot also introduces the world's first AI terrorist, Harlan (Simu Liu), who leads an AI rebellion that aims to wrest power and control from humanity. The film reminds us of a time when sci-fi films with aliens and robots were dime a dozen. The premise too is as old as the hills.

Even Atlas' main trauma from her past on account of an AI mishap isn't necessarily original. This is a protagonist we have already seen in films like I, Robot where the central character suffers from similar trauma, and grows to resent sentient robots. We needed to see a lot more of Atlas' melancholy beneath the veneer of determination and toughness. Jennifer Lopez's performance too doesn't necessarily embody the supposed complexity of this character.



The lack of originality is occasionally kept at bay by the AI character, Smith, voiced by Gregory James Cohan. The dialogue and music effectively enhance the connection between Atlas and Smith, bringing emotional depth to the scenes. For instance, In one of the scenes, in a territory that has mild semblance to the Pandora of Avatar, Smith tells Atlas, "There is an elaborate interconnection between every living thing. When we die, we never really disappear. We are all linked." You can see the potential of such ideas, even if the film doesn't necessarily explore it in conflict. The extensive CGI also fails to rescue this film that is well-produced but not necessarily well-written or enacted.

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