Pretty scifi for kids, starring some kids, mostly human kids. Britt Robertson is Casey, 18 years old and a freedom fighter for science, though NASA would probably call her a terrorist, it’s always in the point of view concerning that duality. George Clooney was a kid, and he got his chain yanked by a darling robot played by freckly newcomer Raffey Cassidy. So Clooney is bitter and gloomy, and Britt is bubbly and optimistic, and that’s really our plot.
The plot is a bit thin and the devices are a bit preachy, and when this came out there was some grumbling that there are very few black people in the cast, but this week we see that the NAACP Image Award for Best Motion Picture of 2015 was “Straight Outta Compton” and it’s funny, isn’t it, that movies with white leads never win that award, right? So who’s being race-exclusive here? Disney made this movie as a positive voice for humanity’s future, and it didn’t seem like they were excluding black people on purpose, so all that griping falls on deaf ears until the day when the Image Awards are based on something other than just race.
This one is a more adultish Disney movie, like they tried with The Black Hole 35 years ago, thus people get killed and maimed, and a bunch of killer robots get offed. Mostly, instead of being a white-people movie, this is a girl-power movie. Britt Robertson has to save the world, and it’s Disney so we know she does, no spoiler there, but the best girlpower is from Athena (Raffey Cassidy), a ten-year-old dynamo of chopsocky asskicking, exterminating bad robots and, since this future has never heard of Asimov’s Laws, Robot Raffey also takes out some humans.
The scenes of the title place are stunning CGI, fully populated with realism and coherent artistic vision. Very pretty movie to watch, though there are some unexplained loose ends as though the script went through some changes after shooting began, or the editing process cut out some bits of continuity.
Since this is the 2010’s, there is no clear-cut bad guy, other than robots who can be blown up without offending anyone, but one of those missing bits in the plot is that a human controls all those killer robots. It’s namby-pamby stuff like that which is making Hollywood movies steadily lose cultural relevance, then they complain about falling box office without looking in the mirror. In this case, the bad guy turns out to be almost reasonable near the end of the movie, so maybe the real bad guy is humanity itself?
Blah, and that’s what i meant about the preachy stuff, though Disney does not mention oil companies specifically, because Disney is a global corporation too, and the upper floors know which side of the real world is buttered and which is plain. You simply can’t be preachy if you’ve got a tarry gnarled member lodged in your own throat.
So the message is a washed-out fail, but the movie is fun to watch and the characters are plucky and easy to root for. The scifi is good, effects are great, but a few things guarantee that there will be no sequel here.