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Even AI can’t save this sci-fi thriller starring Jennifer Lopez

Atlas is the kind of happily cataclysmic movie with a few good men and women fighting aliens, machines, zombies, and assorted evils that Hollywood loved producing by the dozens at the turn of the century.
Last Updated : 31 May 2024, 23:34 IST
Last Updated : 31 May 2024, 23:34 IST

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Atlas (English) Netflix
2024
2/5
Director:Brad Peyton
Cast:Jennifer Lopez, Simu Liu, Sterling K Brown

At the end of all the apocalyptic dishoom-dishoom, Jennifer Lopez's AI-mistrusting title character tells her AI saviour (which has the extraordinarily creative name 'Smith'): "It is not like I do not like AI: The truth is, I don't actually like anybody — people always disappoint." Despite all its attempts to be adrenaline pro-max, dystopian and action-packed, it is this human-AI exchange that stands out in Netflix's new sci-fi caper, Atlas.

Atlas is the kind of happily cataclysmic movie with a few good men and women fighting aliens, machines, zombies, and assorted evils that Hollywood loved producing by the dozens at the turn of the century. It starts promisingly enough — awakened bots have turned rogue and are waging a war against their creators. They are led by a once-house bot-humanoid Harlan (Simu Liu). After killing millions on Earth, the AI bots are overpowered by a counterforce formed by a global consortium of nations, forcing them to flee the planet. Now we jump 28 years into the future where Atlas (Lopez), a counterterrorism expert with mysterious connections to Harlan, is roped in to find him after a sleeper AI cell is busted somewhere in Hollywood. And then the aforementioned good men and women set off on a mission to a planet in Andromeda Galaxy, no less, where Harlan is supposedly hiding! 

Although the movie desperately wants to connect emotionally and be a thriller, it falls short of both objectives. Mostly inane and one-dimensional in its purpose and portrayal, this two-hour endurance test is as clunky as the AI-enabled thingamabob Lopez is stuck inside for most of the runtime. The dialogues are corny, especially the ones between Smith and Atlas — was this the movie's attempt to tug at our hearts? That's a mission fail!

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Published 31 May 2024, 23:34 IST

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