Right after the path-breaking success of the Matrix franchise, the Wachowskis released an animated anthology that consisted of nine short films, four of which were written by the Wachowskis themselves. The anthology was set in the world of the eponymous matrix and narrated stories about various characters in a range of animation styles. That was over 15 years ago which only makes you realise how far ahead it was of its time. One of my favourite shorts, named Final Flight of the Osiris, boasted of some of the most incredible character animations with fascinating real-world detail. It is almost ironical that a computer was able to create those hyper-realistic scenes in a film where AI machines had trapped human consciousness in a hyper-realistic world.
We live in a strange world now. Technology has leapt so far ahead that we are seeing screen performances by actors who aren’t even alive anymore. Game-designers, today, are delivering experiences like Red Dead Redemption 2 that defy human senses. While your brain knows that it is a game, your eyes refuse to accept that fact that these are not real people, these are not real situations, this is just code that has been made to emulate real-world physics. Produced by David Fincher, Tim Miller, Joshua Donen and Jennifer Miller, Love, Death and Robots is also an anthology with 18 shorts each directed and animated by various studios including big players like Blur Studios (credits – space scenes in Avatar, cinematic trailers for Batman Arkham Origins and Arkham Knight) and Sony Pictures Imageworks (credits – Spiderman: Into the Spider-verse).
Also watch: Red Dead Redemption 2 realism
Love, Death and Robots brings together an Asimovian fascination of Robots where various dynamics between mankind and machines are delved into, and the abject flaws of the human condition. The opening short, unassumingly named Sonnie’s Edge, revolves around around a fighter who mind-melds with a monster and fights with other monster avatars in an arena. However, it’s not just a game for her. Brutally violated in her past, she vents out her anger through the fights until the ego of yet another man tries to destroy her. This very first short establishes the fact that the anthology was going to be unsparing in its treatment of the subject matter. Although I found a few of the stories with often-used sci-fi tropes, there were a few which are sure to captivate your attention either through the twists in the tale or through the highly imaginative artwork.
Here are some of my favourites, in no specific order:
Sonnie’s Edge : A fighter reveals her true edge when pushed to the extremes by male ego.
The Witness : An inadvertent murder scene turns out to be an unbreakable time continuum where the killer becomes the witness and the witness becomes the killer
Beyond the Aquila Rift : A lost space-ship finds itself rescued by friends but everything is not what it appears to be
Good Hunting : A demon/spirit hunter helps a violated spirit exact revenge on her perpetrators
Shape-shifters : In a world where werewolves have enrolled themselves in the army, war has gone beyond the usual gun-fight
Helping Hand : An astronaut gets stranded during a routine space-walk and finds a desperate way to get back into her ship
Love, Death and Robots is not Black Mirror but its stunning art-work elevates its stories into a psychedelic, lucid dream. Each short-film gets you invested to the point that you are left wanting for a full-fledged film in that style. With Disney jumping head-on into the streaming business, the landscape is primed for a second streaming war albeit between Disney and Netflix. And to that end, Netflix would be amping up its collection of Anime against Disney’s own repertoire of animated films. However, this rivalry turns out, it is viewers like us who stand to gain. With the technology at hand, the future would be a sight to marvel at.