ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Automata: A Movie Review

Updated on January 8, 2019
wingedcentaur profile image

The first step is to know what you do not know. The second step is to ask the right questions. I reserve the right to lean on my ignorance.


The most notable thing about this movie is that it stars Antonio Banderas, supported in a very minor role by his former wife, Melanie Griffith.

Let's get this out of the way right now: This 2014 Spanish-Bulgarian production --- according to Wikipedia --- is standard android liberation fare.

I find that I cannot even be bothered to offer a plot summary. Instead I will, briefly, discuss two points:

  1. Sex and Mating, and their relation to racism.
  2. The film that COULD HAVE BEEN!

Sex and Mating in Relation to Racism

There is one thing that films purporting to deal with racism fail to understand. And that is this: What makes racism effective is sex. It is by way of the sexual act that children are conceived, to be born into the world.

When you have two groups --- the dominant (oppressor) group and the second-class citizens (oppressed) group --- you see a fear of so-called miscegenation from extreme bigots on both sides.

Extreme bigots from the former camp tend to see the oppressed group as weak and unworthy, due to the simple fact of their subjugation to their own group of origin. In their eyes, then, to mate with the oppressed group would be to weaken themselves, their group, say, intellectually, politically, militarily, and so forth.

Extreme bigots from the latter camp tend to see the oppressor group, as a whole, as wicked, evil, sinister. They would not agree that the oppressor enjoys his position due to any innate mental, political, social, or cultural superiority. They would attribute the superior position of the oppressor group to a kind of inhuman predatory drive. To mate with member of the oppressor group, then, would, in their eyes, weaken their group spiritually and morally.

What racism ultimately amounts to, then, is the fear of racial taint through sexual contact with The Other.

The film that COULD HAVE BEEN

A guy named Dylan McDermot is in this picture, which doesn't really matter, except that he plays the human character that manifests an anti-android racist attitude.

Now, at one point in the film we visit what is, for all intents and purposes, a brothel staffed with android erotic workers.

Don't ask!

Anyway, the proprietor is a human being, a human being with robotic, mechanical legs; and he seems to have undergone some procedure concerning his lungs, because his speaking voice sounds metallic and robotic.

Okay, let's talk about the film that could have been, while we keep in mind my first point about sex being the operative element of racism.

The film should have been about how humans, increasingly dependent on technology for entertainment, information, and even physical survival, were becoming more and more like androids; and androids, in their increasing refinement, were, themselves, becoming more and more human.

The two strands should have been drawn closer and closer together, until the situation culminated in a love story between a 100% human being and a 100% android --- AND THEIR QUEST TO PRODUCE A CHILD!!!!

Imagine it: This child as THE VERY FIRST OF THE BORG!

How would that be for an origin story for the Borg? You know, I think that scenario would make a great Star Trek novel, if something like that hasn't been done already.

Here's the thing...

Now, I have said that this movie is standard android-liberation fare.

However, --- and I hate to say this ---, it is something less than standard. Ultimately there is no tension in the androids' decision to break off from their human creators. You see, one would think that the very reason for the decision of the robots to depart human society, would be the very thing that powers the story and drives the plot.

We are simply told that the reason the androids seek to leave human is this: (because it is just time to do so) or (simply that it is a matter of "evolution").

With such bland-to-almost-nonexistent motivation, the tale simply does not have any urgency and meanders around to no purpose.

However, I will not deny that there are two interesting features of the film. I will not spoil them, in case any of you want to see it.

But consider this....

The 1972 film, Conquest of the Planet of the Apes --- (prequel to the Charleton Heston original film, Planet of the Apes (1968) --- starred Roddy McDowall who played the revolutionary leader, the first of the talking apes known as Caesar.

In that film you have real motivation as to why it is that the apes seek to leave the society of their human masters. Caesar (McDowall) delivers the query perfectly when he asks his primary human antagonist why the humans were so cruel to his people, the apes.

Caesar points out that, at first, the humans treated the apes like beloved pets. But then the humans' treatment of them had turned to enslavement. Caesar wanted to know why.

Interestingly, the man told him why. He explained that the apes represented something in mankind that was savage, untamed, wild, and in need of tight suppression and control. This exchange is the film's second most powerful scene.


The film feels like a low-budget, wannabe art-house, so-called "indie" project --- which rather reminds me of another low-budget, self-reflective, --- and ANGSTY, don't forget ANGSTY --- picture called Robot World (2015).

Thank you for reading!


This website uses cookies

As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

Show Details
HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)