Season 3 on Love, Death and Robot would have assured countless disappointments in season 2. But if these last two bursts of short films highlight the irregularity of the series, it can still give us some wonderful moments.
This is the essence of his anthological character: there is food and drink, but we inevitably fall for a nugget. And the nuggets, there’s some of this production by Tim Miller and David Fincher. So let’s forget the soulless technical demonstrations to focus on the best stages of Love, Death and Robotsometimes poetic, sometimes unique, sometimes frightening and sometimes moving, on a slightly incomplete list.
Blue card for some small spoilers
Happy Hunting (S1E8)
What does it say? In early 20th century Chinae century, a boy falls in love with a changing late jing after his father kills his mother.
Why is it good? Exit 3D (or almost). Welcome to a universe somewhat inspired by traditional animation. A logical aesthetic change: tradition and modernity are the proper subjects of the very beautiful Good huntingthat is, after a somewhat pointless comedy (Yogurt Revenge), and a classic story preserved by extremis by an even more terrifying break in tone (behind the living room), surprised everyone.
The short film adapted by Ken Liu, despite the role sealed by mythical aspirations, stands by telling the story of a transition, a transition between legendary, hereditary magic and more modern, mechanical magic. Or the exploration of the artistic ambiguity between fantasy and steampunk. It is unclear where the most evil representatives of the human species rejoice, marvel at the machine, the only entity they can fully surrender to their will … and even to their sexual desires.
Sometimes believe when necessary, Good hunting easily fall into technophobia, an obvious mistake when comparing cold cogs and traditional magic in this way. But by taking advantage of his own graphics to freeze a change in aesthetics rather than foolishly rejecting so-called progress, he reassures part of the power of fiction. Because for the authors of this episode, magic is humanity. A simple idea, but noble crafted.
angel of war
Winter Artwork (S1E14)
What does it say? A lone actor gives a final interview after a century.
Why is it good? The presence at this stage in this selection creates only a moderate surprise. In general, everyone agrees on this point: Zima’s job is the nugget of Love, Death and Robot. Released on a popular platform, as part of a widely promoted anthology, it serves as the best possible advertisement for the short film industry by convincing neophytes that it is indeed possible to engage metaphysically. and emotional reflection on art and reality in just 10 minutes.
The overall work, whose style perfectly blends in with the subject, it leads us to an artistic quest that can only evolve into fiction. Whether the very best episodes of the series carry within it a figurative purpose or a more or less subtle message, he was one of the few who opened up the field of interpretations. Ode to simplicity? Remember that reality depends only on our field of vision? Philosophical projection of the future of robotics? Extension of the work of Yves Klein? Advertising for a pool cleaner?
Maybe (almost) all of that at once, and that’s exactly why Zima’s work an interesting thing. The final touch of emotion, so impressive, can be almost unreal: does the feeling of being challenged be real human? Paradoxically, the series has often been criticized for a dehumanization, due to its sometimes abstruse technicality. And yet, the most emotionally set short film is really the one that requires us to come out of our own person. If only one had to be kept, it was one.
Ice Age (s1e16)
What does it say? A couple discovers a civilization that lives in their freezer.
Why is it good? It’s not very popular ice age. Probably because of his appearance, obviously the most bizarre of the series, so advanced in photo-realism that, in the first few minutes, you believe in real shots. The work of special effects studio Atomic Fiction is so disarming that it seems to have a trap, a cynical technological vacuity.
And yet the story he portrays is almost the same a metaphor for the power of animation. This couple watched an entire evolution of civilization, die and surpass itself, to the point of contact, as we meditate, with the haggard air, sitting on our sofa, the miracles that can now be done by animators. The final moments of this small world, projecting mini-rockets across the room, are also reminiscent of the advent of 3D, which precisely allows fiction to invite itself a little further into the living room.
Granted, the concept can be carried into the stratosphere of philosophical theories, but that’s not the intention of screenwriter Philip Gelatt, who was responsible for many of the episodes. With this technically impressive little pastille, he just reminded us that, thanks to the diligence of the skilled artists, it is possible to see – the right hand of the briefs, the left hand of the corkscrew -, the evolutions of the entire universe. And that’s still nice.
And besides, there’s Mary Elizabeth Winstead
The Sunken Giant (S2E8)
What does it say? One day on the English beach, a giant was washing the beach, which caught the attention of the locals.
Why is it good? An episode from season 2 must be included in this selection. However, the choice remains hungry except for this last short film, which was directed and scripted by the series ’producer, Tim Miller. It is the most original, and finally establishes itself as one of the most poetic animation pieces in the series.
Clearly, its qualities come primarily from the short story in which it is adapted, written by JG Ballard, one of the most interesting authors of the 20th century. However, bringing such a monster to the screen is not easy (remember High Climb), the two filmmakers who managed to face the challenge that they themselves were two luminaries (Steven Spielberg with empire of the sun and David Cronenberg with crash). Miller does very well, especially since he knows how to move animation into a situation that is impossible to represent in real shots.
Art direction, obligatory voice-over and greyish photography do the rest. Seeing the dead giant decompose before our eyes really reinforces the terrifying poetry of this story and tickles the painful side of our humanity. It’s really the kind of suggestion we want to see more of this season 2 show, in its final gamble, that it will also be able to say something powerful, as long as it gives it its own way.
Talk to my hand
Bad Trip (S3e2)
What does it say? The crew of a ship sailing in very bad waters are torn apart by a hungry crustacean monster. To get out of it, you need to negotiate …
Why is it good? The series borrows very, very often from HP Lovecraft. The American author’s cosmic stories are truly an ideal testing ground for these ambitious animation studios. However, it is clear that most of these tributes are content to reject the same formula. Pitfall David Fincher, its prestigious director bad trip, full manifestation of the horror of love.
One that almost makes an adaptation of 20000 Leagues Under the Sea release a particular chilling creature to the poor sailors and take advantage of it above all else in they face the limitations of their own humanity, in the strict tradition of the writer. The main character faces animal and human cruelty. A story that gets even more brutal as filmmaking and production design push the knobs of desperate dream to the limit.
Interesting outdoor game
Fincher can only thrive with Blur’s technicians, who are perfectly in tune with the perfection – not to mention the sick perfectionism – that characterizes his work. Not only did he see an opportunity to orchestrate a killing game, but he allowed himself to have fun with the animation, especially during times of muscular mutiny. We leave with only one wish: to see him try his hand at animation again and continue in horror.