Bru’s Reviews – EX MACHINA EFFECTS EXCELLENCE May 4, 2015 – Posted in: Blog, Bru's Reviews, Featured Columns
All original written content is (c) 2015 Mike Pascale. Visual content is (c) its respective owners. Bru-Hed is a trademark of All Ages Media and Mike Pascale.
NEWBIES: If this is your first trip here (welcome!), here’s the QT on what these reviews are.
THIS WEEK: A new entry in what I call “AI Sci-Fi.” Rich search-engine CEO dude builds a hot, young chick bot and a company programmer geek wins a “lottery” to test it for him. Unexpected and uncomfortable feelings and outcomes ensue. What is life? What is love? What are we? Why am I asking you?
[FROM MIKE: The title Ex Machina is Latin for “from machine” and is pronounced “X MAH-kin-ah.” This has no connection to the DC comic of the same name by Brian K. Vaughan and Tony Harris.]
Written and directed by Alex Garland.
- Good casting. Domnhall Gleeson as the geek is geeky, Alicia Vikander as the disturbing-but-hot bot is disturbing but hot, and Oscar Issac as the creepy rich a-hole is a creepy drunk.
- Nice design on Ava, the main bot-babe. The wire mesh on her T & A reminded me of ribbed sweaters, which is universally known as hot. The glowing belly and clear limbs could be a turnoff, but thankfully there’s a solution for that as you’ll see.
- Special effects are mostly subtle but friggin’ brilliant. The robot babe is really cool to look at (see-through arms, legs and mid-section), while maintining a perfect balance of eerie and erotic. All the robots and parts are well thought-out and/or cool.
- The twists are good, make a fair amount of sense, and aren’t all easily expected, even though you know there has to be at least one. (If you like to be surprised, don’t watch it with one of those annoying types who feel they have to say out loud what they’re thinking in order to make themselves feel smart by guessing plot twists before they happen. Like me.
- Three words: nudity, nudity, nudity! Technically they’re machines, but they’re played by human actresses which is enough for this red-blooded American man. Sadly, the one with the biggest hooters is headless, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing, depending on your level of chauvinism.
- Gorgeous outdoor scenery/cinematography is perfect contrast to the sterile high-tech interior environment. (Who knew Norway was that nice? Other than Norwegians, I mean.)
- The last half hour has more twists than the giant soft pretzel I paid five bucks for. But a lot less cheesy. I figured one out about halfway through, but the others were more or less unexpected. Several come all at once, so pay attention–make sure you’re done sifting through the kernels at the bottom of your popcorn bucket by then.
- I want my own millionaire hideaway with underground chick lab and beer fridge. But mine will have a lot more windows, recliners and TVs. And porn.
- The musical score is atypical but fits the electronic/techie vibe perfectly. And still builds plenty of tension/suspense.
- Despite the slow pace (see “Cons” below), there is genuine suspense, both in the uncomfortable Larry David-type interactions as well as the building sense of menace.
- Did I mention the nudity?
- If the FURIOUS movies are a “10” on the action scale, EX MACHINA is barely a 2. More like an “inaction” film. The most action happens at the end, but it’s still subdued (much in slo-mo). Even the music is slow! Mostly people talking and looking at cameras or mirrors. It’s what the eggheads call “cerebral,” which is a fancy word for “pacing like melting peanut butter in a microwave.”
- Ava really needed a wig or a hat. Obviously the bald dome was to drive home the “machine” look, but let’s be realistic: What self-respecting, horny billionaire dude designs a hot babe machine without hair?
- When she does finally put one on, it’s way, way too short. She looks like a 14-year-old boy and that is definitely NOT hot.
- There are a couple parts where it’s obvious the script needed “A” to happen instead of “B” which would have been more logical/realistic behavior. But I’m nitpicking.
- If you’re the mega-rich head of the largest search engine/tech company on the planet, you couldn’t be a recluse–the press and Wall Street wouldn’t let you. And if your ego was that big, you’d be all over social media. (Check out the heads of Google, Apple, Twitter, Facebook…)
- Do robots have credit cards? If no, how do they buy stuff? If yes, how do they get approved without a Social Security number? I guess they could steal one, but the timing here seems off.
- I won’t spoil anything, but a single needle-prick is usually enough for what was needed here! Those sensitive to gore may need to turn away for one scene. You’ll see it coming.
- Some confusion about security protocols at the end, at least for me.
My reg’lar readers know I like my movies with action, explosions, car chases, big fights, monsters, spaceships, slapschtick, superpowers and/or strippers. Though this has none of that, there are nekkid ladies and cool robots so that gets me in the door. And though it’s slow-paced, there’s enough tension and plot interest that held me through to the end, which has a good payoff. But no need at all to see it on a giant screen. (In fact, you guys might prefer to wait for the DVD so you can pause and slo-mo the good stuff with a beer and a jar of hand lotion.)
P.S.: Although Pascale doesn’t draw full nudity (other than when he’s life drawing in front of a mirror, which trust me, you do NOT want to see), he is dang good at drawing half-nekkid or otherwise scantly-clad hotties–of either gender. Let him draw one fer YOU to ogle at yer leisure. Just ask Craig here!
DISCLAIMER: The opinions expressed herein are not necessarily those of Wednesday’s Heroes, Mike Pascale, computer programmers, wealthy wacko billionaires, cyborgs, robot babes, or intelligence of any kind, artificial or otherwise. (Bru’s version of AI is a blow-up doll with a smart phone sticking out of its belly.)