Starring: Ben Kingsley, Gillian Anderson, Callan McAuliffe, Ella Hunt, Milo Parker, Steven Mackintosh
Directed By: Jon Wright
Written By: Mark Stay, Jon Wright
Rating: PG-13 (US)
Running Time: 1 hr 30 min
What’s this? Robot Overlords? A film recommended by Netflix based on my streaming history. A cheaply produced British sci-fi film with production values on par with your average modern era Dr. Who episode. Complete with big nasty robots, an Oscar winner actor, and a sci-fi TV legend. How bad could it be?
Answer: Pretty bad actually! It seems Netflix thinks I’m an undemanding preteen. Thanks a lot Netflix. And I thought we had a connection!
This is an odd little movie. Like a jigsaw puzzle of ideas that writer/director Jon Wright didn’t know how to put together. Part human spirit over alien invaders story, part nod to World War II occupation dramas, complete with traitorous collaborators looking to survive the conflict at any cost. This is a sloppy story with no clear direction or objective, that egregiously wastes the talents of Sir Ben Kingsley and Gillian Anderson, as it clumsily leapfrogs around England looking for a logical narrative.
This film doesn’t settle on a central theme, or character. And its many plot contrivances will have you picking apart this poorly planned alien flick from start to finish. Moments of sentimental whimsy feel out-of-place, and the film’s more dramatic moments are cheesy and overly melodramatic. The cast do the best with the material they’re given, but this film doesn’t develop characters you can care about, or bother to follow the rules within the universe it builds.
Set your expectations to low for this one. Expect modern era Dr. Who level visual effects, and a mid-eighties Dr. Who theatrics. This will likely appeal more to the preteen crowd. This movie is rated PG-13 for mild sci-fi action violence.
The visual effects are cheap, but serviceable. A HD streaming on your TV, laptop, or tablet will service this film decently enough.
Best Moment: << spoilers >>
Sean (Callan McAuliffe) discovers he can control any robot he gets close to. So what’s the first thing he does? Make a robot scratch its balls of course!