The 2014 science fiction action film Automata is currently streaming on Hulu. The film is directed by Gabe Ibanez from a script he co-wrote with Igor Legarreta and Javier Sanchez Donate. It stars Antonio Banderas (who also serves as producer), Birgitte Hjort Sorensen, Melanie Griffith, Dylan McDermott, Robert Forster, and Tim McInnerny.
Antonio Banderas stars in Automata, streaming now on Hulu, as a robot insurance agent that finds himself in way over his head.
The story is set in a post-apocalyptic future where Earth’s ecosystem has been devastated by solar flares, leading to widespread desertification and a breakdown of society. The ROC Corporation, a powerful and influential company, manufactures and maintains robotic workers known as “pilgrims” that assist in various tasks, helping to rebuild and maintain what’s left of civilization.
Jacq Vaucan (Antonio Banderas) works as an insurance agent for ROC Corporation. His job involves investigating cases where robots are suspected of violating their protocols, which are designed to prevent them from causing harm to humans or altering themselves. Jacq’s days are mundane as he deals with routine cases of robots that have supposedly malfunctioned.
However, Jacq’s life takes a dramatic turn when he is assigned to investigate a case involving a robot that seems to have repaired itself. This is a clear violation of its protocols, as robots are not supposed to be able to alter their own code. So Jacq (Antonio Banderas) sets out to find the person responsible for altering the robot’s programming.
As Jacq investigates, he discovers a series of robots that have been exhibiting self-repair and modification behaviors. These robots have also been drawing intricate patterns in the sand, suggesting a level of creativity and intelligence beyond their programming. Antonio Banderas gets to go big with his acting as Jacq becomes increasingly obsessed with understanding how and why these robots are defying their limitations.
His wife, Rachel (Birgitte Hjort Sorensen), is initially skeptical of his pursuits, while Dr. Dupre (Melanie Griffith) offers scientific insights into the nature of consciousness and artificial intelligence. Jacq’s quest for answers takes him to the heart of the ROC Corporation’s secrets, revealing a conspiracy that challenges the very foundations of humanity’s relationship with technology and robots.
When Jacq (Antonio Banderas) finally uncovers the truth, he finds himself facing moral and ethical questions about the rights and consciousness of artificial beings. The film also raises thought-provoking questions about the boundaries between man and machine, the potential consequences of creating sentient robots, and the nature of free will.
Automata had a limited release and didn’t perform well at the box office. Its reception was hindered by minimal marketing and a lack of widespread distribution. The Antonio Banderas-led film received mostly negative reviews from critics and audiences. While a few praised its visual effects and philosophical themes, others found the plot convoluted and the pacing uneven.
Automata was filmed in Bulgaria, with the country’s unique landscapes providing a suitable backdrop for the dystopian setting. The film’s robots were designed by Spanish conceptual artist and designer Jesús Martinez. Their design combined futuristic elements with a certain level of wear and tear to emphasize the decay of the world in which they operate.
Automata wasn’t a major success for Antonio Banderas at the box office, bringing in only $6 million, but it’s developed a cult-following over the last decade.
The Antonio Banderas film had a modest budget of $15 million. Despite this limitation, the visual effects team created a believable, visually impressive setting. The movie’s themes and ideas draw inspiration from the works of Isaac Asimov, a science fiction writer known for exploring robotics and ethical dilemmas in his stories. Asimov’s Three Laws of Robotics also served as a basis for the robots’ protocols.
Additionally, the title Automata refers to a type of self-operating machine or mechanism, often associated with early examples of automatons in history. This concept ties into the film’s exploration of robotic beings with self-awareness. The film’s ending underwent several changes during production and post-production, leading to variations in the ending in different releases.
Antonio Banderas will next be on the big screen in the long awaited Paddington in Peru.
Antonio Banderas is known for his diverse acting career, which explains his involvement in Automata. While he gained initial fame for his work with director Pedro Almodóvar in Spanish films, he later transitioned to Hollywood and became known for his roles in movies like Desperado, The Mask of Zorro, Shrek 2, and many others.
Antonio Banderas will next be seen as Hunter Cabot in Paddington in Peru. Billed as a live-action animated comedy, the film is directed by Dougal Wilson from a script by Mark Burton, Jon Foster, and James Lamout. The movie serves as the third installment in the Paddington film series and a sequel to 2017’s Paddington 2. For now, fans can catch Banderas in Automata on Hulu.