1 June 2024

ATLAS proves Netflix can make garbage and people will still watch it

| Jarryd Rowley
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Atlas is the latest release from Netflix and also one of its worst. Photo: Netflix.

Netflix is having a rough 2024 so far.

Three of their biggest budget original movies of the year; Rebel Moon, Damsel and Spaceman, have all been critically panned as well as receiving a lukewarm reaction from viewers.

In light of this, however, they keep attracting massive viewership and this is no different for the streaming platform’s latest film ATLAS.

ATLAS circles around Jennifer Lopez’s Atlas Shepard, a data analyst in a dystopian future with a distrust for AI following an event in which her father figure [who is an AI] turns into the most prolific terrorist in the world.

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After a mission to destroy the AI, who has begun a robot/human war, Atlas is forced to trust the very entity she swore to destroy.

In the past 12 months, I’ve reviewed four or so movies with the concept of AI being a threat including The Creator, Mission Impossible: 7, Heart of Stone [also a Netflix trainwreck] and now ATLAS.

ATLAS is easily, easily the most uninspired of the bunch and the most boring.

With AI movies, there are two routes a film’s plot can take; play it seriously with a constructive and thought-provoking tone akin to Blade Runner: 2049, The Creator or even the newest Mission Impossible.

Or, fully ham it up and have some fun with it like I,Robot, Tron or even Wall-E. All of those movies that I just mentioned are so much better than ATLAS.

The film’s tone is all over the place. In parts, it feels like a mockumentary about AI, in others, it feels like a critique and in others a Star Trek clone.

All the actors aside from Simu Liu, who plays the evil AI, clearly hate being there too. Jennifer Lopez can’t carry a movie like this and it shows. There’s a time jump, with a younger and arguably more impressive actress who plays a younger version of Atlas. She is more interesting than Lopez and it would have created a more unique dynamic had the time jump not happened.

Supporting actors Mark Stong and Sterling K Brown are clearly filling out contracts because they have no interest in being here. Strong would have been perfect for a hammy movie, just look at his role in the Kingsman movies, yet this one has him flicking between stern and whacky. Meanwhile, Sterling K Brown who is one of the best actors working today, is miscast and left to an extended cameo.

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The world-building is also atrocious and makes the environment feel tiny. This is a clear red flag for a film about world hopping, intergalactic, robot vs human conflict.

My biggest problem with ATLAS, much like many of Netflix’s other ventures into sci-fi and fantasy is that it just feels cheap and lazy. Which apparently isn’t the case as the budget was $100 million.

ATLAS still made it to the number one most viewed slot of the service, yet I’m not quite sure as to why. Unfortunately, if 2024 is anything to go by, these half-baked uninspired ‘epics’ are only going to continue.

If you haven’t seen ATLAS yet, give it a miss. It isn’t worth your time. If you’re interested in other films about AI, check out the brilliant HER, Ex-Machina or any of the other movies mentioned above instead.

ATLAS is currently streaming on Netflix.

Original Article published by Jarryd Rowley on Riotact.

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