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  • Entertainment - Movie Reviews
  • Updated: May 25, 2024

'Atlas' review: Jennifer Lopez squares off against AI in Brad Peyton's piquant sci-fi

'Atlas' review: Jennifer Lopez squares off against AI in Bra

In an era where all sci-fi movies are lesser imitations of what came before, director Brad Peyton manages to use the dialogue between leading lady Jennifer Lopez and her Artificial Intelligence (AI) companion to keep you vested in a rehashed plot.

Atlas is both ironical and paradoxical given that it sees its heroine having to depend on the very thing she detests to fight that same thing.

Marking J-Lo's second Netflix movie in recent times, Petyon's action sci-fi sees one of Hollywood's most recognisable faces play the titular character, a woman who finds herself stranded on an alien planet while on a mission to track down the proverbial monster she made.

Atlas Shepherd must learn to work with the AI in her mech suit named Smith if she hopes to survive the unpleasant experience that awaits her.

As both man and machine learn to trust each other, Harlan (Simu Liu), a rogue AI who has a history with Atlas hatches a devious plan that threatens Earth's population. 

We are living in an age where many are becoming increasingly fascinated with what AI can do. As the potential of this amazing technology continues to grow and evolve, many continue to wonder why mankind isn't taking regulation seriously. 

Peyton's film couldn't have come at a better time as it shows us the two sides of the coin; the sword and the shield. While artificial intelligence has made life much easier for humankind, there is no denying the catastrophic impact on us all if it is used as a weapon.

The good thing about the storyline is that it neither preaches against the use of AI and neither does it outright endorse it. The director simply shows you a world advancing at a speed far beyond the complete control of its human leaders. In the end, you either love or hate the technology. Wherever you stand, you have sufficient reason to back up your choice.

During the film's onset, Lopez's Atlas is for the most part annoyingly hysterical, taking her deep mistrust of AI to the extreme. It's not until glimpses of her past are shown that the viewer understands where she is coming from.

While the film boasts Hollywood heavy hitters like Mark Strong and Sterling K. Brown, the script is penned in such a way that it only allows its central character to shine. There is character growth and this more than makes up for the movie's shortcomings.

The visuals are striking and the action, especially the aerial sequences and the fight scenes in the third act, is commendable. The special effects however could have been better, especially those used on the AI soldiers.

Jennifer Lopez in ATLAS

I found the dialogue between Atlas and Smith very enjoyable. They both play off each other's wit and we learn more about the former's resentment of the latter as the exchange goes on.

As is expected, J-Lo kicks ass here; it's more fulfilling seeing how she goes from naive instructor to capable mech-wielding badass. Her character also goes from showing just one hysterical emotion in the first act to depicting vulnerability.

Atlas won't get rave reviews. It may be critically panned given its nod to similar projects and having to borrow from countless films in the genre, Nonetheless, it will whet the appetite of sci-fi and action lovers. In my opinion, it has more of the good than bad.

Rating: 6.9/10.

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