Robot Over­lords

Attack The Blocky Au­toma­tons

SFX: The Sci-Fi and Fantasy Magazine - - Cinema -

Re­lease Date: 27 March

TBC | 90 min­utes Direc­tor: Jon Wright Cast: Gil­lian An­der­son, Ben Kings­ley, Cal­lan McAuliffe, Ella Hunt, Milo Parker

Direc­tor Jon Wright’s

pre­vi­ous movie was the drunks- vs­mon­sters com­edy hor­ror Grab­bers, which re­ally ought to have been the new Tremors. This new film is a change of tack, de­scribed in pre- pub­lic­ity ma­te­rial as a Spiel­ber­gian com­ing of age sci- fi story. It’s not, re­ally. It’s more like one of those BBC chil­dren’s se­ri­als of the ’ 70s and ’ 80s, such as The Tripods or The Changes, con­densed to 90 min­utes and with the ben­e­fit of gi­ant CG ro­bots and slightly more con­vinc­ing teenagers.

Em­pha­sis on slightly. They’re more Percy Jack­son than Attack The Block, though they do have their cool mo­ments of snarky hu­mour ( and even man­age to re­claim robot bol­locks gags from Trans­form­ers 2).

The set- up is good – hu­mans cow­er­ing in­doors while ro­bots stomp the Earth be­ing all robot- y – but the plot is bob­bins: a com­bi­na­tion of “quest for dad” and “sud­denly dis­cov­er­ing handy pow­ers”. Don’t let that put you off. The fun here is in the witty vi­su­als, the ir­rev­er­ent de­tails and some very silly hu­mour. The ro­bots im­press by and large, and their hu­man in­ter­face is one of the freaki­est things you’ll see this year. Plus there’s Gil­lian An­der­son as a posh work­ing class mum and Sir Ben Kings­ley do­ing an­other silly ac­cent.

The over­wrought end­ing is some­thing of a mess, lack­ing the wit of the rest of the film, and its am­bi­tions mean that it’s cheap­look­ing in places, but Robot Over­lords is a fresh- feel­ing, af­fa­ble stab at a low- bud­get fam­ily adventure. Dave Golder

Robot over­lords, um, not pic­tured.

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