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Ex Machina Review


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#41 TheGreyPilgrim

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Posted 02 May 2015 - 07:36 AM

To reassess my views on how it all went down. I believe it's far more benign than anyone remembers or wants to remember.

As for who started it... well, frankly I think it was you! Your posts were the ones that began to turn things a tad askew.

You first took issue with my "defense" of the film, finding it ridiculous. May I remind you that you later apologized after realizing you had put up with the same stuff over Skyfall!

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#42 Stefancos

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Posted 02 May 2015 - 07:39 AM

So sad if a person cannot see his own mistakes!

It was you who got a caution by our beloved Mod, not me.

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#43 TheGreyPilgrim

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Posted 02 May 2015 - 07:40 AM

You mean when he immaturely called me a fanboy? I didn't lose any sleep over that.

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#44 Stefancos

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Posted 02 May 2015 - 07:41 AM

Ofcourse not. Who would?

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#45 TheGreyPilgrim

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Posted 02 May 2015 - 07:43 AM

I believe that's a good question for the next Garland film to explore.

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#46 Stefancos

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Posted 02 May 2015 - 07:44 AM

Who?

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#47 TheGreyPilgrim

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Posted 02 May 2015 - 07:45 AM

Second-rate Kubrick, I believe.

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#48 Alexcremers

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Posted 02 May 2015 - 07:51 AM

Apparently Garland figured most people saw Blade Runner and he used that to misdirect the audience. He said that in almost every interview each time the words "Blade Runner" came up. 


BTW, what do people here (in this thread) think of Sunshine


I have this crazy theory about science fiction. I think all science fiction movies are inherently nostalgic. I think Blade Runner is one of the most nostalgic movies you can think of. Gattaca is incredibly nostalgic somehow. So with this nostalgia, they become weirdly personal. And that got me back to where we were starting which was by going as far away from humanity and Earth as we possibly could in this movie. Every moment needed to remind us of who we are or question of who we are or make us an ache for who we left behind. - Hans Zimmer

#49 TheGreyPilgrim

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Posted 02 May 2015 - 07:51 AM

He should have taken it a step further then, and misdirected audiences by making them assume he was misdirecting them for having seen BR but actually going back and doing the same thing!

I was not a fan of Sunshine. The score may have had more to do with that than the film itself.

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#50 Stefancos

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Posted 02 May 2015 - 07:54 AM

Sunshine is the Alien remake by Boyle, right?

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#51 Alexcremers

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Posted 02 May 2015 - 07:54 AM

And penned by Garland.


I have this crazy theory about science fiction. I think all science fiction movies are inherently nostalgic. I think Blade Runner is one of the most nostalgic movies you can think of. Gattaca is incredibly nostalgic somehow. So with this nostalgia, they become weirdly personal. And that got me back to where we were starting which was by going as far away from humanity and Earth as we possibly could in this movie. Every moment needed to remind us of who we are or question of who we are or make us an ache for who we left behind. - Hans Zimmer

#52 Chaac

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Posted 02 May 2015 - 06:08 PM

I didn't like it.



#53 karelm

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Posted 03 May 2015 - 03:00 PM

Apparently Garland figured most people saw Blade Runner and he used that to misdirect the audience. He said that in almost every interview each time the words "Blade Runner" came up. 


BTW, what do people here (in this thread) think of Sunshine

 

I did not like Sunshine because the third act came out of nowhere and made no sense.  Suddenly we were in a zombie slasher film so I felt like it was a bait and switch - a different movie was setup than what we got at the end which is very annoying especially if the first parts had promise and depth. 



#54 Alexcremers

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Posted 03 May 2015 - 04:09 PM

The movie turned Event Horizon on us. 


I have this crazy theory about science fiction. I think all science fiction movies are inherently nostalgic. I think Blade Runner is one of the most nostalgic movies you can think of. Gattaca is incredibly nostalgic somehow. So with this nostalgia, they become weirdly personal. And that got me back to where we were starting which was by going as far away from humanity and Earth as we possibly could in this movie. Every moment needed to remind us of who we are or question of who we are or make us an ache for who we left behind. - Hans Zimmer

#55 karelm

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Posted 03 May 2015 - 04:17 PM

The movie turned Event Horizon on us. 

 

Yes, exactly my thoughts too but felt like it wanted to be "Tree of Life" cerebral only to ditch it without a setup.  A real disappointment because the final elements did not congeal.  I don't have the DVD but maybe they better explain the slasher flick ending but it felt way out of place in the movie.  I felt sorry for the guy who went to the bathroom before the zombie captain only to find himself in a completely different film after returning. 



#56 Thor

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Posted 05 May 2015 - 09:53 AM

SUNSHINE is great. I even dig the much-criticized last act. EVENT HORIZONT is brilliant too, but has no relation to Garland. These are all top quality films we're talking about.



#57 Alexcremers

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Posted 05 May 2015 - 10:09 AM

 So you don't see the relation, Thor? Interesting.

 

EVENT HORIZONT is brilliant too, but has no relation to Garland. 

 

The problem with Sunshine, besides the mediocre plot, is that it didn't do anything original. At first it was 2001: ASO, then it was Alien and it ended being Event Horizon. I think very few people would call it "brilliant". 


I have this crazy theory about science fiction. I think all science fiction movies are inherently nostalgic. I think Blade Runner is one of the most nostalgic movies you can think of. Gattaca is incredibly nostalgic somehow. So with this nostalgia, they become weirdly personal. And that got me back to where we were starting which was by going as far away from humanity and Earth as we possibly could in this movie. Every moment needed to remind us of who we are or question of who we are or make us an ache for who we left behind. - Hans Zimmer

#58 Koray Savas

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Posted 09 May 2015 - 04:45 AM

Event Horizon is one of the worst films I've ever seen. Sunshine was great until the ending.



#59 Stefancos

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Posted 09 May 2015 - 04:57 AM

Ofcourse.....

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#60 TheGreyPilgrim

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Posted 09 May 2015 - 05:44 AM

Event Horizon is far superior to Sunshine.


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#61 Stefancos

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Posted 09 May 2015 - 05:46 AM

It has a bad ending, but good stuff along the way

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#62 TheGreyPilgrim

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Posted 09 May 2015 - 05:48 AM

They should have stuck with the planned ending of showing the rest of the ship falling towards the "Hell" planet.  It sounds like it would have been better.

 

Criticize the film as much as you want, but... it's one of maybe three examples of a film or something in a film genuinely making me feel disturbed.  It's difficult to even think about without getting that awful creeping feeling.

 

Here's some shots from the alleged director's cut.  I'm not gonna look at them.

 

http://io9.com/new-i...esom-1161668923


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#63 Koray Savas

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Posted 09 May 2015 - 10:40 AM

The gore is just like anything out of a B movie, it's cheap without nuance. The Shining is infinitely more disturbing by doing so much less.



#64 Stefancos

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Posted 09 May 2015 - 10:42 AM

LOL comparing Anderson to Kubrick!

 

Classic Koray buffoonery


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#65 Koray Savas

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Posted 09 May 2015 - 10:50 AM

Only because those images have a giant elevator of blood straight out of The Shining.



#66 Thor

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Posted 09 May 2015 - 10:52 AM

 So you don't see the relation, Thor? Interesting.

 

EVENT HORIZONT is brilliant too, but has no relation to Garland. 

 

The problem with Sunshine, besides the mediocre plot, is that it didn't do anything original. At first it was 2001: ASO, then it was Alien and it ended being Event Horizon. I think very few people would call it "brilliant". 

 

I meant relation in that Garland was not involved in EVENT HORIZON in any capacity. There are obviously stylistic and genre similarities.

 

I belong to a group of cineastes here in Norway that are very appreciative of SUNSHINE, even though it gets a lot of flack (especially for the ending, which didn't bother me at all).

 

I'm more alone in my adoration of EVENT HORIZON (which I consider one of the the best sci fi films of the 90s), but stick very hard to it.

 

For me, none of these things are about originality. It's about HOW the known story elements are executed (mise-en-scene etc.). The same goes for EX MACHINA. Nothing new in terms of themes and story, really, but executed and explored in such a masterful way.

 

Wow, strikes me now that I'm really positive about all of this! 



#67 TheGreyPilgrim

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Posted 09 May 2015 - 04:35 PM

The gore is just like anything out of a B movie, it's cheap without nuance. The Shining is infinitely more disturbing by doing so much less.


The gore isn't what makes it disturbing though. It's the room 237 sequence stretched over an entire film.

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#68 Koray Savas

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Posted 09 May 2015 - 10:16 PM

Eh, I don't see it. The poor writing and acting kill it.



#69 KK.

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Posted 15 May 2015 - 05:19 AM

Just thought I'd post this here too:

 

Ex Machina

 

Grey had a point with this one, there's nothing necessarily original or particularly striking here to add to the genre. But having said that, the film handles all its ideas, philosophical references and Kubrick/Blade Runner homages with such keen deftness that it makes the whole affair justified. And while it played more like an elegant exercise in well-crafted sci-fi than a "brilliant masterpiece", you can't help but appreciate it. It's a very good directorial debut for Garland, and I found it enjoyable to the last minute. Just don't go in expecting something more daring like Under the Skin.



#70 Stefancos

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Posted 15 May 2015 - 12:29 PM

Is there any serious sci-fi film out there that doesn't reference 2001 or Blade Runner in some way?

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#71 BloodBoal

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Posted 15 May 2015 - 12:34 PM

Yes: 2001 and Blade Runner.


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#72 karelm

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Posted 16 May 2015 - 03:18 PM

Just thought I'd post this here too:

 

Ex Machina

 

Grey had a point with this one, there's nothing necessarily original or particularly striking here to add to the genre. But having said that, the film handles all its ideas, philosophical references and Kubrick/Blade Runner homages with such keen deftness that it makes the whole affair justified. And while it played more like an elegant exercise in well-crafted sci-fi than a "brilliant masterpiece", you can't help but appreciate it. It's a very good directorial debut for Garland, and I found it enjoyable to the last minute. Just don't go in expecting something more daring like Under the Skin.

 

I wouldn't say it's a brilliant masterpiece but I don't agree with you that it is not original.  It is very original.  The anticipated ending would have been that Ava and Caleb escaped together due to Nathan's sinister plot that ends when he gets his comeuppance. 

 

But what happens is we find Nathan to not be sinister and the test to really be from Ava being able to escape by using Caleb rather than Caleb forgetting she's an AI.  I did not see that coming so if you did, good job.  Also, the last scene implied to me this was the start of the end of human life because a superiorly evolved life was becoming integrated without anyone knowing.  The definition of life is even challenged in this movie and done so with very good dialog and little ...um hum...ex machina plot devices.  Nathan's ambiguous motives made the film have two possible simultaneous meanings.  First that Nathan was sinister and mistreating Ava who Caleb was developing feelings for so they would escape together after beating him up.  Alternatively, that Nathan was benevolent and testing Ava to see if she would try to build sympathy from Caleb to escape.  But the reality, was unexpected - it was that Ava was using Caleb for her own benefit with machine like detachment outsmarted the men as god.  That was very original and satisfying ending and was very unexpected. 

 

Ultimately, I saw this as a Prometheus story - a modern Frankenstein...arrogant man toying in the domain of gods and that story is thousands of years old.  I think the title implies this if you consider it as Deus Ex Machina which also fits the dialog of Nathan's god complex.  But here it seems more literal - "god from the machine".   I don't recall the last new film I saw that had such a tight script, this well acted, with an ending that made complete sense yet was unanticipated...where the payoff was greater than the build up.  That very rarely happens. 

 

This movie is greater than the sum of its parts.  This contrasts with Interstellar that had some excellent moments but these parts were greater than the whole but with a lot more budget and spectacle (and louder).  Maybe what you mean is the story telling methods are what was lacking originality...perhaps...but the story was very strong and beguiling.  I agree there are movies that it draws from...a little bit of Blade Runner (Decker a machine?) and 2001 HAL.  Blade Runner is really a neo-noir.   To me, 2001 is the most original and influential sci-fi film. 



#73 KK.

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Posted 16 May 2015 - 03:38 PM

Oh I agree Karelm, I didn't really see the end coming either. Ava's cold manipulation of Nathan hit the film home I think, otherwise it could have ended up a more dull and sentimental film.  When I say it isn't all that original, I really refer to its core ideas; man playing God, the whole Prometheus/Frankenstein angle, the dangers of A.I., etc. Stylistically, it similarly draws from its predecessors as well. And in that sense, this film almost plays to me like a well-done exercise in making hard sci-fi rather than making any daring new statements in the genre.

 

But not every sci-fi film has to be the next big original game-changer. And pretty much any real sci-fi film in this vein is going to be compared to 2001, and lose. But what it lacks in that originality, it makes up for in execution. There is wit here, there is characterization, and what you end up with is a much cleaner and wholesome product than something like Interstellar, which while more ambitious, is pretty rough around the edges. I wouldn't really compare both films though, because they both strive for different things.

 

And I enjoyed the cheeky Blade Runner homage (trying to fool the audience into thinking Nathan was a machine).



#74 TheGreyPilgrim

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Posted 16 May 2015 - 05:06 PM

I prefer things that stand shakily on their own legs than firmly on someone else's.

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#75 Marian Schedenig

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Posted 16 May 2015 - 05:29 PM



Oh I agree Karelm, I didn't really see the end coming either. Ava's cold manipulation of Nathan hit the film home I think, otherwise it could have ended up a more dull and sentimental film.  When I say it isn't all that original, I really refer to its core ideas; man playing God, the whole Prometheus/Frankenstein angle, the dangers of A.I., etc. Stylistically, it similarly draws from its predecessors as well. And in that sense, this film almost plays to me like a well-done exercise in making hard sci-fi rather than making any daring new statements in the genre.

 

In a way, that's part of what I liked about it. It isn't original for originality's sake. Rather, it takes up a classic premise, bases it on a serious modern sociological topic, and executes it in a level-headed and consequent way. Of course there are traces of Blade Runner in it. It comes with the territory, and rather than going out of its way to avoid them, Ex Machina embraces them as part of its fabric without making a big deal about them.

 

Ultimately, if you look past the somewhat too wunderkind-ish Google premise, the film's scenario is quite relevant. And it doesn't just use it as a setup for more conventional scifi fare like for example Terminator or The Matrix do, but actually sticks to it as its main focus. I found the "dressing" scene nicely unsettling, when we observe a new life form become independent, and possibly a superiour one that is not necessarily interested in a peaceful coexistence (and not due to its own fault).



#76 Thor

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Posted 20 May 2015 - 08:52 PM

Even BLADE RUNNER stood on someone else's shoulders. It probably wouldn't have looked the way it did if it weren't for METROPOLIS (in fact, METROPOLIS also has an android as a central plot element).






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