Friday, 3 July 2015

She's Always A Woman [Review: Ex Machina]

Programmer Caleb (Domhnall Gleeson) wins the opportunity to spend a week with his company's mega-rich and secretive boss, Nathan (Oscar Isaac). On arrival at the remote and ridiculously expensive location, inhabited only by Nathan and his housemaid Kyoko (Sonoya Mizuno), Caleb discovers his real purpose - to Turing-test Nathan's secret pet project, an artificial intelligence in a humanoid robot called Ava (played by Alicia Vikander).

Alicia Vikander as Ava

I love it when this happens: a film is promoted as if it is an effects-laden, action-heavy Hollywood blockbuster, posters on buses and everything, but when you get to see it, it turns out to be a low-key, four-handed character-driven stage play. Brilliant! There's plenty of darkness, drama, threat and revelations for all four characters, but not a single fireball.

Alex Garland's involvement probably boosted the promotional budget, but rightly or wrongly, it's probably the iconic look of Ava's transparent robot body that has mis-sold the movie. I do think, once again, that roboticists should think twice before designing their robots to resemble attractive women - have they not seen The Machine, Humans, Battlestar Galactica, or (especially) Austin Powers: International Man Of Mystery? The warnings were all there. Robots need to look like robots, or there'll be so much trouble.

When the Singularity comes, it will look like this...


Maurice Mitchell said...

I couldn't agree more that robots need to look like robots and not sex-pots. Hopefully robot designers wtach these movies and we can avoid the trouble coming! What a cool review, and hope you have a super morning Sci-Fi Gene.

Sci-Fi Gene said...

I completely agree Maurice, and purely for illustrative purposes I've added a picture to help those robot designers figure out what not to do.