Friday, May 24, 2024

Atlas (2024)

Streaming Service: Netflix
Movie Name/Year: Atlas (2024)
Genre: Sci-Fi, Action, Adventure
Length: 1h 58min
Rating: PG-13
Director: Brad Peyton
Writers: Leo Sardarian, Aron Eli Coleite
Actors: Jennifer Lopez, Simu Liu, Sterling K. Brown, Gregory James Cohan, Abraham Popoola, Lana Parrilla, Mark Strong, Briella Guiza, Adia Smith-Eriksson, Logan Hunt, Jared Shimabukuro, Ashley J. Hicks, Paul Ganus, Zoe Boyle
Metacritic Blurb: Atlas Shepherd (Jennifer Lopez), a brilliant but misanthropic data analyst with a deep distrust of artificial intelligence, joins a mission to capture a renegade robot with whom she shares a mysterious past. But when plans go awry, her only hope of saving the future of humanity from AI is to trust it.
Cat’s Point of View:
Atlas was my #3 pick on May's Top 20 list. Needless to say, I've been eagerly anticipating its release. My daughter and I woke up and watched this movie right away while enjoying some waffles. We both had a blast taking in all of the explosive sci-fi action, connecting with the emotions of the main character, and giggling with the moments of levity sprinkled throughout.
This Netflix original packed quite the emotional punch while still delivering a solid sci-fi glimpse at a possible future. Atlas painted a picture of a different version of an A.I. uprising than the likes of The Terminator (1984) and the wrath of Skynet.
Atlas took us on quite the emotional rollercoaster ride, yet it still felt reasonably balanced between action and the personal story. The humor was most appreciated in breaking some of the tension, and felt natural to the story rather than forced jokes. Even in the face of crisis, sometimes you just have to shake your head and chuckle at some things. That was a sentiment I certainly related to.
While I was preparing for this review, I stumbled upon an article by chance – it flashed a headline on my phone from a news app, actually. It was describing what seems to be the current critic consensus regarding Atlas. It pissed me off a little.
Atlas wasn't meant to be a drama doing a hard-dive into the existential crisis that A.I. presents. Nor was it in need of excessive exposition or B-roll scenes explaining how newer A.I. assistants integrated into a post-Harlan and A.I.-terrorist world. That would have amounted to essentially time-wasting filler.
Atlas set up its world-building on a more subtle level where it required a little reading between the lines. The audience got a cross-section glimpse of the A.I. integrated world, and, really, that's all that was needed. The core focus of the plot was how a brilliant woman had to come to terms with a life-long repressed heartbreaking trauma, anxiety, and panic attacks in order to learn how to let go and trust again. Trial-by-fire therapy in a distant world combat scenario – with a heavy focus on combat.
We didn't need in-depth character development on any other character than the titular one. This wasn't meant to be something like The Avengers (2012) where every character had an amazing back-story and whole movies dedicated to their growth. While I would have liked to learn more about the relationship between General Boothe, played by Mark Strong (Kingsmen: The Secret Service, 1917, Nocebo), and Jennifer Lopez's (Hustlers, Marry Me, The Mother) Atlas, we were presented with what we needed to know during the course of the film. Sterling K. Brown's (The Rhythm Section, This Is Us, American Fiction) character, Colonel Banks, did have a small arc of growth also – as much as the pacing of the plot allowed.
Were there some “hammy” moments? Sure. Were there common tropes involved with the plot of Atlas? I agree there, too. Here's the thing, though. It worked. There was something familiar and comfortable underneath what would otherwise be a rather scary concept that fills most people with existential dread. A.I. is the source of debate, trepidation, and litigation these days – but it is also a wonder that, if handled responsibly, could elevate our world. I found hope in the center of Atlas' story through most of what they didn't spell out on-screen.
If you're a lover of sci-fi and action, I would ask that you but give Atlas a chance and decide for yourself how you feel about it. I, for one, would enjoy watching it again.
Rotten Tomatoes Critic Score – 16%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score –56%
Metascore – 38%
Metacritic User Score – 5.3/10
IMDB Score – 5.6/10
Trust the Dice: Cat’s Rating – 4/5
Movie Trailer:

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