Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Automata

Millennium Entertainment released its first trailer for a new film by director Gabe Ibáñez, and starring Antonio Banderas about the future where robots are as common as they are in the "Jetsons."

Robots in cinema have gone back a long time. Maria, the leader of a revolution in Fritz Lang's 1927 silent film, "Metropolis," comes to mind immediately. While other robots are more subservient like Gort from the 1957 Cold War era film about alien invasion, "The Day Stood Still." If you saw the 2008 remake with Keanu Reeves, do yourself a favor and hunt down the original. One of my favorites, was Robbie the Robot, from "Forbidden Planet," starring Walter Pidgeon, the lovely Anne Francis, and Leslie Nielsen.  "Star Trek: the Next Generation" featured Lt. Cmdr. Data, a more sophisticated from of a robot called an android. Of course there is The Robot from TV's "Lost In Space," and the subject of cinematic robots is never complete without R2-D2 and C-3PO from the "Star Wars" universe. Now, back to robots running amok.  First of all, one should note were the word robot comes from. It is a Czech word that means forced or serf laborer. "Automata" plays on humanity's fears of an uprising that have been depicted in films like Will Smith's "I Robot," based on Isaac Asimov's science fiction bestseller of the same name. Going back to the 1980's James Cameron foresaw a world where humans created an Artificial Intelligence called Skynet that went rogue and started terminating humans. Then there are the Cylon's from Battlestar Galactica, whose rebellion eventually was so complete they destroyed humanity's home worlds I know I am missing other famous robots of cinematic history but that would be a whole article in itself. 

So, here is the synopsis:
Fast forward fifty years into the future, planet earth is in the midst of gradual desertification. Mankind struggles to survive as the environment deteriorates and the slow regression of the human race begins in AUTÓMATA. On the brink of life and the reality of death, technology combats the prevailing uncertainty and fear with the creation of the first quantum android, the Automata Pilgrim 7000. Designed to bring support to society's plight, man and robot reveal what it means to co-exist in a culture defined by human nature. 
The descent of civilization is juxtaposed by the rise of ROC, the corporation at the helm of robotic intelligence. Despite the demise of humanity, the company has set forth security protocols to ensure mankind always maintains control over the manufactured population. As ROC insurance agent, Jacq Vaucan (Antonio Banderas) routinely investigates cases and complaints surrounding defective androids, he begins to uncover the secrets behind who is really manipulating the Automata Pilgrim 7000. Jacq's own suspicions propel the mystery— uncovering a truth that is far more complex than the make or model of any machine.
Some things that Sci-Fi fans will notice that, like Asimov's "Three Laws of Robotics," there are a set of protocols programmed into the robots for the human's safety.  However, "Automata" takes it one step further adding  that a robot cannot alter itself or others to the list.

Millennium's site goes on to to proclaim:
"Writer/Director Gabe Ibáñez was driven to tell a story that blurs the lines between science fiction and reality. Ibáñez gives audiences a compelling look into the theory of evolution and what life might be like for mankind in the not too distant future. With powerful performances from a cast including Antonio Banderas, Birgitte Hjort Sørensen, Melanie Griffith, Dylan McDermott and Robert Forster, AUTÓMATA is a sci-fi film noir that explores the potential dangers and complexities when mind and machine merge."
It's been a while since we've seen Melanie Griffith in something substantial in a while. For the last several years she has been popping up on TV shows here and there.  Antonio Bandereas was seen recently in the under performing "The Expendables 3," and was in the bad Robert Rodriguez sexploitation film "Machete Kills" starring Danny Trejo.

The concept is impressive and the photography based on the trailer reminds me of "Mad Max," or of the Matt Damon & Neill Blomkamp film, "Elysium."

"Automata" is due out in limited release on October 10, 2014 in the United States.

Movie Data
Genre: Sci-Fi, Thriller
Year:  2014
Staring:  Antonio Banderas, Birgitte Hjort Sørensen, Melanie Griffith, Dylan McDermott, Robert Forster 
Director: Gabe Ibáñez
Producer(s): Antonio Banderas, Sandra Hermida, Danny Lerner, Les Weldon
Writer: Gabe Ibáñez, Igor Legarreta, Javier Sánchez Donate
Rating: R
Running Time: Unknown
Release Date: 10/10/2014