But it’s the characters on display here that are the real focus. Who are these people and what are they really up to? Watching the actions of the police is especially interesting. They’re the outsiders here. Everyone goes to great lengths to keep the cops at arm’s length so they can pursue their own deals.
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Plot twists develop that are unexpected and handled in surprisingly dramatic and original ways. I found the series getting more interesting as it progressed as it addressed issues of militarism, greed, social structure, duty, honor, generational transition, artificial intelligence, and reliance on technology.
This is not just one more big city with skyscrapers being torn apart by Marvel or Transformer characters fighting. This is a human scale small town surrounded by cornfields getting smashed by Mother Nature in scenes that are becoming depressingly more common as our climate continues to change for the worse.
Speaking of stunts, it is interesting to compare what’s on display here with a Buster Keaton movie like The General which was released on February 5, 1927. That movie involved an extended locomotive chase along with amazing stunt work that still make one’s jaw drop. I wonder what Keaton would think about this movie?
Ex Machina has developed a reputation for being one of the more cerebral science-fiction movies to come along in many years. While I agree that it’s a pleasure to see a non-crash-bang/non-superhero film masquerading as SF, I was bit let down by the AI aspects of the film.
You’ve got a loyal hero, a heroine torn between loves, an exotic sword lady out to get Our Hero, and dozens of other characters who make the most of their screen time.
While there’s a lot here that’s “true to the Bible,” the movie also make sense as a fantasy set in a time and place far far away. We can’t help but wonder about the morality of such a world where the vices of humans are met not with forgiveness but with genocide on a planetary scale. Out of this genocide emerges a new and greener world.
After seeing this, I would definitely see someone like writer director Eric Hayden doing a really good job directing the film version of Andy Weir’s The Martian instead of a more mainstream Hollywood type director.
For me the saving grace of this movie were the lead characters: Chris Evans of Snowpiercer fame as Capt. America, and Scarlett Johansson (Her, Lucy, Under the Skin, Chef) as Black Widow. They do a good job making their characters seem real. If only the stories and action surrounding them were more interesting!
Still, the movie is worth a watch especially for the first half or so. But eventually the silliness overwhelms the acting, editing, and wonderful production values. Lucy at the end reaches for spectacular profundity but lands with the thud. We’ve seen it all before.
The Imitation Game might oversimplify at times but it does represent the work of real people and that’s a good thing for modern audiences to see.