The premise of Love, Death & Robots is as intriguing as the story behind it getting made. In the early 2000s, David Fincher and Tim Miller wanted to create a sci-fi anthology series. This was something not heard of before and even if somebody had dared to do the experiment then it had not been successful. In 2016 Deadpool released and the Tim Miller directorial became a raging success. That’s when David Fincher called him and asked him to use his newfound stardom to make the anthology that they had always wanted to make. They just had to find an apt platform, not scared to take risks. And that’s how to Love, Death & Robots came on Netflix.
Automated Customer Service
The first short film of Love, Death & Robots revolves around an elderly lady living in a dystopian society and her house-cleaning Vaccubot. Some malfunctioning happens and her robot goes rogue and tries to kill her. She tries to call the customer service and then an infinite loop of Kafkaesque bureaucracy entangles her in its mere absurdity. I mean for once you think how absurd it is to wait on a call for 16 hours to talk to a human but then suddenly you realize that it is not so fictional after all. It also focuses on how earlier a supply fulfilled a demand but now demand is created just so that it could be supplied for. Though the story takes a humorous route, the subject matter makes you contemplate the kind of future we are leading to. And it’s scary!
Sedgewick and Fletcher have moved with their family on a planet where people are genetically molded to have certain superhuman abilities. But Sedgewick is the only one to not have been molded till now. The parents often show their displeasure and taunt him on his back which hurts the ego of the teenager. He makes it a point to prove them wrong. He goes with his brother and meets his friends. They do this kind of race where they try to catch a glimpse of the frost whales when they come out of the surface for minuscule seconds.
The molded teenagers often show an ethnocentric attitude. Considering Sedgewick is not molded he has to face a lot of discrimination. But when the race finishes we see the apathy slowly fading away and acceptance taking its place.
It’s a dystopian age and day. Humans have become immortal by inducing some sort of drug. And now reproduction is a crime as earth can no longer support anyone. Detective Briggs is given the responsibility to terminate the kids and prosecute the parents who have them. But deep down the humane side is taking the better of him. He finds out that a woman is secretly bringing up a girl child. He goes to their house but this time he does not kill the child. The tenderness of the kid invokes some long-lost emotions inside him and he is just not able to pull the trigger.
It felt like a critique of the modern world. Today most of the third world nations are suffering from overpopulation. If kept unchecked it would lead us to a harrowing reality. Will we be able to suppress the innate human desire to procreate? If not then are we doing enough to stop that situation from arising?
Snow in Desert
Snow lives on the desert planet of Vatch. Availability of water is extremely scarce on the planet and the sun’s rays are extremely harsh. During the daytime, one cannot travel in the sun. Snow generally takes refuge in a makeshift tent made of a material that blocks the sun’s rays. Snow’s body is made of a genetic material that regenerates itself. That means that snow is immortal. Even if a limb is cut it grows back like a lizard’s tail. That’s why the merchant Baris has kept a bounty on his head. He wants his testicles to get access to his genetic material.
Hirald arrives on the scene and her identity is unknown. She tells Snow that she is from Earth Central, an organization looking for the same thing as Baris. But the difference is that they don’t want to kill him. Rather they want to work in a coalition and know more about the genetic material. Baris tries to kill him but accidentally they kill Hirald. It is then revealed that Hirald is an AI. She was human once but now she is a cyborg.
Snow’s life had been one of regret and pain. His wife had committed suicide because she was aging and he didn’t. But now with Hirald that wouldn’t be the case. Hirald was the gleam of hope in the life of a man who seemed to have lost his way in a dark tunnel devoid of any life.
The Tall Grass
A train stops in the middle of nowhere. Lairo, a passenger gets down and sees something illuminating in between the tall grass that surrounded the area. He starts moving towards that gleam of light. What he sees scares him to death. He sees a partly human and partly beast-like creature standing in front of him. It starts chasing him. He is unable to find his way back to the train. He hears the train whistle and fears that he would be left behind. Somehow he scampers back to the train.
From the train, he saw that almost the whole area was gleaming with that light. It was some sort of portal that opened to another world. A dimension where evil resided. Those creatures were also humans once. They too wandered off in the Tall Grass but weren’t as lucky as Lairo to successfully return.
All Through the House
A young girl and her brother lay awake and waited for Santa Claus. Suddenly they hear a noise. But this is not what they were expecting. This was not the Santa we always saw in Christmas commercials. This was a devilish-looking creature. The kids scared by the monstrosity try to run away but the creature closes in. it doesn’t kill or hurt the kids. Just spits out 2 gifts from his gob and says “Good.”
The film ends on a dark and comical note where the kids just think later that night, what would have happened if they weren’t good.
Michael. B Jordan, playing an astronaut crashes on a planet. But he was lucky enough to find an automated shelter. He goes inside but to his horror the robot attacks him. He somehow manages to evade the attack and then later smashes him to pieces.
It’s a sarcastic take on our dependence on technology and a future we are leading to.
The Drowned Giant
A giant washes ashore and people gather just to see how enormous he is. A team led by a scientist also comes to enquire about things and look into the matter. The body of the giant slowly dissipates by natural processes. But one day the scientist sees that the limbs are amputated, meaning that it was the doing of some human being. The identity of the giant starts to slowly fade away too. Earlier he was a giant but now only severed pieces of the same layer on the beach. His male appendage is also taken by a circus and labeled as being that of a whale. Giant bones are taken and hung as decorative pieces by the shops.
The last short of Love, Death & Robots, is a satire on consumerism and how the market works on sensationalism. It leaves you with a strange feeling. You are forced to think about the world we have created for ourselves. What is this thing called a “market”. What are we doing when we want to do marketing of a product? The ideals of marketing were based on a simple concept. The market creates a desire, from which originates a demand. Then we supply that demand.
All the shorts in Love, Death & Robots string a deep chord inside you. You might not be able to grasp it in the first go, but the longer you ponder over it, the more it sucks you inside itself.