The Netflix Sci-Fi Thriller Predicts AI’s Terrifying Takeover

By Jason Collins | Published

The rise and increasing implementation of AI technologies are slowly revolutionizing our society. But the truth is that AI has been with us long before ChatGPT and DALL-E became available to the public. This provides solid foundations for many sci-fi works in which ruthless artificial intelligence seeks to eradicate humans with surgical precision or to establish a totalitarian regime in which the AI reigns supreme. Enter 2008’s Eagle Eye.

Shia LaBeouf Stars In Eagle Eye

Eagle Eye is a 2008 American sci-fi thriller starring Shia LaBeouf, Michelle Monaghan, and Billy Bob Thorton, and it follows two strangers who must go on the run together after receiving a mysterious phone call.

The caller, an omnipresent AI that has been designed by the military, manipulates their actions through surveillance and technological control, while also hinting at the future in which human autonomy is a relic of times that no longer exist. Well, it’s still better than Skynet.

Steven Spielberg’s Involvement

steven spielberg jaws

The idea for the movie could be easily attributed to the rising popularity of AI technologies, but the truth is that Eagle Eye was written based on the idea by Steven Spielberg, who was inspired by Isaac Asimov’s short story All Troubles of the World. In fact, DreamWorks considered Spielberg as the director for the movie, but when he became busy with Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, that role was passed to D. J. Caruso, with Spielberg still attached as the executive producer for the film.

Eagle Eye Is More Relevant Than Ever

It’s actually quite a good story idea. With the rapid advancements in surveillance tech and AI capabilities, it’s not hard to imagine a world in which these technologies transcend their supportive roles only to become formidable entities.

The whole idea makes even more sense in 2024, with the rapid and loosely regulated trajectory of AI development, which turns Eagle Eye into a cautionary tale rather than a mere entertainment piece coming from the shiny, thin, and smart-enabled panels mounted on the wall of our living rooms.

Mixed Reception

It’s really not that hard to imagine an eagle eye in the sky can locate anyone in a matter of minutes, perhaps even seconds—and Eagle Eye does a very good job of depicting that scenario. We won’t dive into the narrative any further.

The movie garnered mixed reactions upon its release, with quite a commendably box office performance. Some lauded the bold narrative and technical prowess, while others criticized the movie for its plausibility, but nevertheless, the movie managed to spark a discussion about the ethical implications of unregulated AI development.

Stream Eagle Eye On Netflix

What makes Eagle Eye stand out from all the other movies in which artificial super-intelligence is trying to take over the world—Terminator and I, Robot was the first that came to mind—is that the technology portrayed in the movie isn’t so far-flung like the T-800 or VIKI, but eerily within our reach, especially now, when the military began experimenting with the AI technologies.

Those interested in checking out Eagle Eye can watch the movie on Netflix.