Features TV/Movies

The Ex Machina Love Letter

Deus Ex Machina

(SPOILERS!)

My love for sci-fi (and androids specifically) probably began after I finished Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep. Philip K. Dick is easily one of my favorite sci-fi authors and this is a personal favorite of mine. Ridley Scott took this novel and transformed it into his magnum opus, Blade Runner.

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This film was way ahead of it’s time. It differed from most dystopian movies in that this version of the future presented actually seemed realistic. The world created in this movie seemed like it would be OUR future.

If Blade Runner was our future, then Ex Machina is our present. We already have autonomous cars, robotic surgery, and even robotic construction crews, so it’s not a huge leap of imagination to assume that a mad scientist is toying with AI somewhere.

And that’s the beauty of this movie, the realism. While watching this movie, I didn’t think for once it felt fake. Sure, it’s a movie about an android but fiction was really absent in this sci-fi film.

This is due to Ava, portrayed by the beautiful Alicia Vikander (I’m sure she’s on her way to being a star after this).

EX-MACHINA

Ava was a representation of the youthful naivety that we all have when we enter this world. She is inquisitive and has a genuine thirst for knowledge of the outside world. Which is quite impressive for an AI.

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Oscar Isaac is her creator,Nathan, and he’s the ultimate “bro”. He is an unbearable, maniacal asshat who has a God-complex but is nothing more than Geppetto. If I sound like I’m pissed at him, I am, slightly.

Nathan’s playing God didn’t end well because well, when has it ever? His arrogance that led to the creation of the beautiful Ava also led to his demise.

Caleb is chosen to test the capabilities of this artificial intelligence. If he can talk to Ava and feel as if she’s more than a robot, then this Turing test has passed.

Ava, using her “womanly” wiles, convinces Caleb to help her escape, which is actually what Nathan wanted. Well in the worst case of poetic justice ever, her creator ends up dead and the one who helped her get free is locked inside of Nathan’s mansion forever.

I think it’s safe to say this AI outsmarted the both of them.

This concept isn’t necessarily anything new, but it’s masterful storytelling by director Alex Garland. If you’ve ever read one of my movie reviews, you know I enjoy the subtle nuances of films. Lighting, colors, camera angles, scores, etc. This movie was crafted to be visually stunning and thrilling. Ex Machina isn’t anything new, but the presentation certainly is.

I love this scene. It’s already one of the best I’ve seen in years. This is modern day Kubrickianism (a word I just made up outta nowhere to describe Stanley Kubrick) in that Garland uses narrow spaces and certain colors to tell the story.

Caleb wathching Nathan and Kyoko dance kinda reminded me of this shot

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Unrelated note: I think I love Sonoyo Mizuno as much as Alicia Vitkander now. They both were brilliant. But anyway…

After watching this movie, I thought “Wow, that’s a sad ending”. But is it really? Ava was freed from an abusive master and was able to choose a life of her own. Is that really such a sad ending? Eva, a beautiful being, now gets to explore the world she became so curious about. She wants to watch people, see nature, live the life we take for granted.

And that’s why I love this movie so much. As I stated before, Ava represents the inquisitive nature of human beings. We want to know why the sky is blue. Why clouds are white. How many stars are in the sky. But that isn’t enough, we want more.

Nathan’s quest for more led to the creation of the beautiful Ava. But a beautiful thing can also be quite frightening. This sci-fi theme doesn’t seem so sci-fi anymore. Ex Machina should serve as a cautionary tale: While trying to play God, be careful what you wish for. Your creation could very well be your demise. Word to Ultron. Ok, not word to Ultron, because he was destroyed…but you know what I mean.

Anyway, go see this movie. It’s an ode to great science fictions films of yesteryear.

Additional notes:

1. These are some of the sexiest robots I’ve ever seen. I think Eva’s innocence in her “nude” state was supposed to mean she’s Nathan’s Eve.

2. “I’m about to tear up the fucking dance floor” is still the best line of the century.

3. This movie scares the crap outta me because of the Bluenote/Google similarities.

4. We should really be looking for Sara Conner right about now.

5. These are some of the sexiest robots I’ve ever seen.

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