Netflix’s “Love, Death & Robots” (LD&R) takes us around the animation world in 18 animated shorts. This anthology has exactly what the title tells you: some love, many robots, and loads of death. The collection is credited to Tim Miller, who has directed films such as “Deadpool” (2016) and was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Animated Short in 2004. This new animated venture Miller brings to us melds that grim humor of our favorite NSFW superhero with the beautifully limitless capabilities of animation, cooking up a treat for any media consumer.
While titles that fit under the ‘adult animation’ umbrella may seem niche, this one is a must-see. Rolling Stone magazine tags “Love, Death & Robots” as the “Heavy Metal for the post-millennials,” and if you know what they’re referencing, you can’t help but agree. “Heavy Metal” is a 1981 animated movie which features an amalgamation of stories centered around stoner aliens, space cowboys and sexy robotic mayhem. It’s a more than fair comparison, as LD&R gives us that shock-factor of mind-blowing animation with the sex appeal, dark humor and attention to character that post-millennial content is known for. “Heavy Metal” might be a great comparison in regards to the premise, but the content is, I feel, more relatable to titles like “Black Mirror,” in which cynicism rules a world of ultra-tech.
Right from the start, the series is fully committed and isn’t playing around. The first episode, “Sonnie’s Edge,” gives us an animation style akin to high definition CGI, much like The Hulk in “Avengers” or the character Alita in the recent movie of the same title. It could be seen as pandering to the gore-buffs, as the plot centers around a battle to the death of seemingly telepathic monsters, but I’m more focused on the artistry, both visual and storytelling, than anything else. The beautiful look of the characters, from the friends of our heroine Sonnie, to the monsters themselves, are a marvel to look at. Not only that, but the storyline of the main character makes us care, and that is hard to do in a less-than-twenty-minute short.
The highlight of the series for me comes quite early in the lineup: episode two, “Three Robots.” I feel this episode is the ultimate example of why this series has so much to offer beyond the animated fight scenes and sultry animations. The short comes in at a stunning eleven minutes, which is not a lot of time to pack a whole lot of dystopian satirical commentary – but this is exactly what the three robot characters of the title give us! Each with their own personalities, they take a sightseeing tour of what seems to be a post-apocalyptic city. Making pithy comments along the way, they take stock of their fallen creators (skeletons) and the pets that once ruled (cats). Perhaps the highlight of the episode is the moment the triangle robot, who looks like a Roomba that got too tall, tells her two companions what the fall of the human race was: hubris. I won’t spoil the line, but let me tell you, it was a trip to hear a robot with the voice of an all-knowing Amazon Alexa predict the end of the human race exactly the way our generation is trying to avoid.Rather than wax-poetic about the other 16 episodes, I implore you to take a look for yourself! Hop onto your Netflix or find the closest friend with the service and give it a whirl, whether you’re into ‘adult animation’ or not! In this big, nerdy pile of beautiful sequences that “Love, Death & Robots” is, there’s something for everybody.
Categories: Arts and Culture