Robot Overlords (12) | Home Ents Review


Dir. Jon Wright, UK, 2015, 90 mins

Cast: Callan McAuliffe, Ben Kingsley, Gillian Anderson, Chloe Bompas

Three years after the would-be alien invasion of the titular robots, Callan McAuliffe’s Sean along with his mother Kate played by Gillian Anderson and a few others group together to figure out a way of getting best the robots curfew for the entire human race along with their tracking implants they’ve had installed. Its from there, that within the first ten minutes, Wright sets out a breakneck speed of chases, narrow escapes and standoffs that along with the somewhat impressive digital FX on a shoestring budget, comes a relatively easy film to watch that has a very British feel, comparable to an episode of Doctor Who. But at the same time feels like a Transformers-lite parody that cann0ot quite capture that charm. It’s able to place the kids-in-danger vibe that pays homage to 1980’s family adventures throughout it’s set pieces and doesn’t come off worse for it.

Starring Callan McAuliffe, Australian actor having starred in I Am Number Four and The Great Gatsby, he’s relatively unknown but elevated to the lead of this film and does hold his own in similar vain to that of the Ender’s Game, Divergent, The Hunger Games-ilk that has the actor action-orientated whilst at the same time dark, broody and likeable for the teen crowd. And being adapted from a popular teen novel, he fits the role well but due to the source material won’t be in the same breathe as those actors starring in the above mentioned films but perhaps in the next jobs he’ll be able to shine more. Ben Kingsley, Sir Ben Kingsley to remind people of his lineage. But his career choices lately have warranted sideward glances including the likes of Self/Less, Night At The Museum: Secret Of The Tomb, Exodus: Gods and Kings, Stonehearst Asylum, The Dictator, Noah, Prince of Persia: Sands of Time and infamously, The Love Guru whilst he also starred in good films like Ender’s Game, Hugo, The Boxtrolls, Shutter Island, The Wackness, Iron Man 3 and the upcoming The Walk and The Jungle Book remake. His choice of films is constantly a head scratcher with how varied the roles are and how they range from great scripts with fantastic directors to straight to DVD films that will devalue his stock. He certainly hasn’t let up with the amount of films he stars in especially having, from the count of IMDB as of August 8th, 11 films and television shows lined up for release in 2015 alone, with only 4 having been released so far. And Gillian Anderson, of X-Files fame, and most recently incredible in the cancelled Hannibal television show who shows that she can bring a good range to a run-of-the-mill family film with gusto and also how fantastic she looks still many years after her run in X-Files.

Overall a good Saturday afternoon film for the family that doesn’t blow the mind in effects or push the boundaries in story or character development but is solid in what it has and what it can do. The pace is brisk which is rewarding, the supporting players are good enough not to switch off and the lead four teenage actors are interesting to keep interest and want a good outcome. It may be completely missed at the cinema and a release that won’t scream for attention on the shelves, but it still deserves more praise and will especially put Wright in a higher light and on the radar for the next film in his sights that will elevate him to a recognisable platform, and if you haven’t seen on his early works Grabbers, It’s a must-see!

Blu-Ray special features include a making of documentary along with looks into a cast book reading, the visual effects, a music video of the official soundtrack for the film and MCM Comic Con video featuring Gillian Anderson.

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Author: Simon Childs

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