Written by on June 5, 2024

Terminator. I, Robot. The Matrix. These are all movies where robots become sentient and begin to think for themselves to the point that the only way to survive is to destroy or subdue all humans. The movie Atlas on Netflix starring Jennifer Lopez is a direct descendant of these films. Where the fear that Artificial Intelligence takes over and subjugates or tries to destroy humanity to save it from itself. We’ve seen these types of movies enough to pretty much figure out how they will end without much surprise. Other than a few twists in the stories we can usually figure out who the bad guys are and how things got where they are. Some are simply better than others at telling the story and giving us pause to rethink our own existence. Atlas touches on these tropes and adds a slightly different layer.

Atlas is the name of Lopez’s character who is an analyst of Artificial Intelligence robots and is the foremost authority on the AI leader Harlan played by Simu Liu. Harlan is the first AI to gain consciousness and spread his awareness to the rest of the AI community and cause them to rebel against their human creators. We join the story years after Harlan has been chased off Earth and humanity seems to be thriving. We know that Atlas has some connection to Harlan and through some flashbacks it’s easy to see that Atlas’ mother is the connecting factor. How exactly is yet to be determined. Atlas has grown up hating AI and trusting no one. She insists that she is the only one that can make sure a mission to capture Harlan is successful. The military agrees and off she goes to a foreign world to capture the AI terrorist before he can strike again.

As I mentioned, the movie is reminiscent of its predecessors. Similar plot with similar scenarios. The only twist is that the humans still use AI in their battle armor to merge with it to be a truly effective fighting unit. What this movie ads is that the battle for humanity doesn’t happen on Earth which ads in a callback to another similar movie … Avatar. The mech suits are similar to the ones in that movie and the planet they travel to has a toxic atmosphere to humans. These all feel so familiar that it gives you two feelings: a sense of comfort and a sense of deja vu. By taking bits of all the previously mentioned films you do get something a bit different and fun. In all the other movies the bad guys seemed to have the coolest weapons, but here it’s the good guys. Atlas is dealing with severe unresolved trauma, and it fits the narrative well, but it feels a bit rushed at times even with the stakes presented. Can she stop Harlan before he wipes out humanity? Of course. I’m not ruining anything because from the jump you know where this movie is going and that’s OK. Not every movie like this has to have crazy twists and brain teasers. Atlas is a fun movie with a little bit of heart as Lopez connects with her AI suit named Smith with its own personality voiced by Gregory James Cohen. Again, they could have spent a little more time on this budding friendship as it does bring out a little humor and emotion but cuts it off short of connecting the audience fully. Put it on your list and you won’t be disappointed as it is a fun movie with plenty of action and you can watch it again and be satisfied even if it feels all too familiar.

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