Atlas | Review by: Benjamin Garrett


There’s plenty of thought provoking discourse and relevant commentary in our world surrounding A.I. This movie offers none of that. Atlas may not lend anything new to the conversation, but the unlikely companionship between J-Lo and her sentient mech suit save Netflix’s latest from total annihilation.  

This movie is set in the future, where mankind finds itself at war with a rogue A.I., who leaves earth vowing to one day return and end humanity. Jennifer Lopez plays a data analyst with a mysterious connection to the A.I., and must embark on a mission into space to save the world. The framework of this movie is not only formulaic, but it’s a little convoluted too. Normally, this would be a dealbreaker, but once the ultra-generic plot is set in motion, the movie shifts gears to become the buddy action flick nobody was expecting. 

Atlas Shepherd (Lopez) doesn’t trust artificial intelligence, but much of her mission takes place piloting a sentient mech suit (voiced excellently by Gregory Cohan). The middle stretch of this film is basically just the two of them learning how to work together, developing a bond of sorts. The main plot takes a back seat while we watch these two unlikely partners attempt to understand one another. It’s at this point that the movie goes from awful, to mildly enjoyable (for a little while, anyways, before returning to genericism). Even though this idea is ripped straight out of the 2016 video game Titanfall 2, I thought it worked surprisingly well. 

Did I mention the film is set in the future? Because oh boy, does it ever keep reminding you of that. What seems like every 5 seconds, the screen is plagued with CGI robots, flying cars, holograms, and so on. At one point a character pics up a regular picture frame, and then a 3D holographic version of the picture is projected outward. With visual effects, a little goes a long way, and apparently nobody at the studio got that memo. The visual effects aren’t great looking, either, with several shots looking like video game cutscenes. The art design is solid, but it’s hard to get past CGI that often doesn’t look like it’s done rendering. 

Have you ever seen a boomer, who refuses to learn new technology, struggling to use new technology? That’s pretty much what Atlas boils down to, for better or worse. The unexpected buddy dynamic between J-Lo and her AI mech suit fuels this humdrum sci-fi with a bit of life, but otherwise it’s running on fumes.


Review by: Benjamin Garrett

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