Since Fritz Lang’s Metropolis premiered in 1927, robots have been a constant at the box office. Perhaps it’s our sense of wonder at what future societies could look like, or perhaps it’s the inner-geek within all of us that’s curious about artificial intelligence. Technology continues to evolve, and popular fiction continues to reflect our uncanny feelings towards machines. Keeping with this theme, movie studios are pushing some big budget robot films for 2015, so let’s take a look at some of the metal faces that will be gracing the silver screen this year.
Based on his short film, Tetra Vaal, director Neill Blomkamp tackles this sci-fi adventure set in the future where citizens are policed by robotic police officers. One of the police robots inventors Deon Wilson (played by Dev Patel) develops a robot named CHAPPiE with not only artificial intelligence but emotions, cognitive ability, and a consciousness. What starts as something exciting and new quickly takes a darker turn as the powers that be learn of CHAPPiE’s existence and his abilities and order him to be destroyed. Mayhem sets forth from there as robots and humans wage a far to find and destroy CHAPPiE. The film is set to hit theaters on March 6th, and if you’re in the mood for an even bigger viewing experience it will also be released in IMAX.
In a British film written and directed by Alex Garland, a low ranking computer developed Caleb (Domhnall Gleeson) gets the chance to spend a week with his reclusive, genius boss Nathan (Oscar Isaac) in his mountain home. While there Nathan shows Caleb his latest invention; Ava, a Barbarella meets Rachel from Blade Runner android played by Alicia Vikander (a star on the rise and one to watch this year). As Ava and Caleb spend more time together she flirts with him but also warns him to not trust Nathan. While Caleb grows fond of Ava he’s concerned about how Nathan treats her and what the future will hold for her in the hands of a man who is always looking to create the new and discard the old. He soon discovers Ava has a plan for herself and her urging to not trust Nathan proves to be true. The film is slated to hit theaters here on April 10th.
When one thinks of robot films, you can’t help but think of the iconic Terminator franchise. The film is being presented as not a sequel but a reset as it follows John Connor’s continued war against the machines in 2029. This time around, time travel is being used in the war which changes the game for all involved and Connor sends a member of his army, Kyle Reese (Jai Courtney) back to save his mother, Sarah (Emilia Clarke). It’s revealed that now that time travel is in play for both sides things in both the past and future are different from what everyone thought and the war is going to have to be fought in multiple dimensions. Look out for Arnold Schwarzenegger to reprise his role in this explosive summer blockbuster which hits theaters Fourth of July weekend.
The Avengers: Age of Ultron
In the eleventh Marvel film and the second Avengers film director Joss Whedon assembles an all star cast featuring Cobie Smulders, Chris Evans, Scarlett Johansson, Robert Downey Jr. Samuel L. Jackson, Elizabeth Olsen, Idris Elba, Chris Hemsworth, Jeremy Renner, and Mark Ruffalo to only name a few. This big budget blockbuster picks up where its predecessor, The Avengers, left off after S.H.I.E.L.D. has been destroyed. Ever the inventor, Tony Stark aka Iron Man (Downey Jr.) decides to revive a forgotten program called Ultron, which is a robot with incredible abilities like artificial intelligence and the ability to learn. While Ultron was designed to keep the peace he quickly becomes the enemy as he wages attacks on mankind and the team of super heroes must assemble again to bring him down. The first of three planned Avengers films to be released over the next five years, Age of Ultron hits theaters and IMAX on May 1st.
As you can see, for robotics buffs or simple sci-fi fans this spring and summer promises to keep you occupied with plenty of films to go see. While the cinematic quality of some of these films may be lacking, their purpose has almost always been to entertain and give a (potentially far reaching) glimpse into our future. And beyond giving us a glimpse into our future, perhaps these films also reveal something pertinent about our present age. We are coming to rely upon machines to an unprecedented degree. And while there are inarguably benefits to modern technology, when measuring how it’s improved everything from public education to home security setups to winemaking, we must be cautious, as a species, of engineering machines that have too much autonomy. Maybe someday soon we’ll be in a real life scenario like one of these films, however, I think I speak for all of us when I say I hope it isn’t at all like the one in Age of Ultron. Hopefully it will be more like Batteries Not Included:
About the Author:
Maria is a writer interested in comic books, cycling, and horror films. Her hobbies include cooking, doodling, and finding local shops around the city. She currently lives in Chicago with her two pet turtles, Franklin and Roy. You can follow her on Twitter @MariaRamos1889