Movie Review: Ex Machina

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First of all, I don’t know how to pronounce the title of this movie.  When I was at the box office I debated whether to say Ex MACHINE-A, Ex Ma-CHEEEEN-A, or Ex MACH-ina…?   I kinda wanted to just say “the movie with the naked robot” to avoid embarrassment, but I didn’t want to risk getting a ticket to The Longest Ride or The Age of Adaline.  I’m sure those are swimming with naked robots, too.

Anyway, Ex Machina is about a billionaire computer expert (Oscar Isaac) inviting a young programmer from his company (Domhnall Gleeson) to his ultra modern research facility (where all the doors make a really satisfying, airy “whOOOoooomp” sound when they open or close), in order to do a Turing Test on his AI robot named Ava (Alicia Vikander).  What is a Turing Test?  It’s about trying to prove a computer truly has working AI, or something.  I don’t know, I never saw the Cumberbatch movie.

I’d just like to say that the robot looked pretty impressive.  I  know this because I’ve built a robot myself.  Back in high school.  It was green, three inches tall, and was able to walk across my desk.  I even soldered my own circuit board, dude.  I’m legit.  But it was undoubtedly a piece of crap.  I doubt anyone would want to Turing test it.  I feel like I’m losing focus here, already.  I just wanted to mention that I once built a crappy robot in high school.  Got an A, by  the way, probably because the electronics teacher was being nice and/or didn’t care.  It was the last month of the school year.

Holy crap, I searched google, and this is totally the exact robot I built in high school.  Technology!

Holy crap, I searched google, and up came the exact robot I built in high school. Technology!

What I liked about the science of Ex Machina is that, while it’s all probably completely unfounded bullshit, they at least made a generic effort to explain things half hazardly.  As in, I’m not sure this was necessarily a *smart* movie, as opposed to a movie that did a really good job of coming across as smart.  That helps dumb guys like me feel smarter.

Oscar Isaac shows us how Ava’s brain works, by creating a “liquid” motherboard, where microchips can move around freely or something.  I don’t understand how someone could possibly engineer that, but at least it seemed intelligent.  It was “movie smart”.  Like, at a certain point you stop thinking about how a microwave actually works, and you just throw the Lean Cuisine in there so you can eat it.  That’s what Ex Machina is like.  It’s like two people discussing how a microwave works for a minute or two, but then they actually serve you the food that they cook with it.

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It was all more about the psychological aspects of the plot anyway.  I kind of assumed how the movie was going to end, because I picked probably the 3rd most obvious conclusion in my head, and it happened to be mostly right.  I wouldn’t go into this expecting to solve some giant twist, because it all resolves itself pretty naturally.  For the record, I liked the ending.  But despite its predictability, it was still fun to watch it all play out.

I liked that there were no clear protagonists or antagonists.  Everyone has their own motives.  You sort of sympathize mostly with Gleeson’s character at first because you enter this weird situation in his shoes, but by the end, everyone has their bad moments and their good moments.  I enjoyed how the billionaire character was this arrogant, creepy scumbag; because it made sense why he programmed Ava to be overly sexual.  It’s not like Ava was created in a government facility; she was built by a weird pervert.  Would a normal scientist try and replicate synthetic titty skin and make working robot vaginas as eerily detailed as this guy did?  Probably not.  But it makes sense why *he* in particular did.

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As a film, I greatly enjoyed the tiny, strange moments and details.  Sometimes (or maybe every time), that’s all it takes to push me over the edge of happiness.  There’s a scene of Oscar Isaac dancing that happens so late in the movie that it serves basically no purpose other than being a weird scene.  And I eat that kind of stuff up.  But without a doubt, if someone who bought a ticket for Paul Blart accidentally wandered into the wrong theater and decided not to get up because they had already set down their large popcorn in the seat next to them; they will definitely not enjoy Ex Machina.  It’s probably too smart for Johnny Construction Worker, but also might be too full of logic holes for Mr. Skeptical over here.

Let’s say that it’s kind of a middle ground in between people who loved the science behind Interstellar, and people who liked the Die Antwoord scenes in Chappie.  I think I like my sci-fi dumbed down, but full of tense weirdness.  Science weirdness, I’ll call it.  Sci-Wi.

8.5 out of 10

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