Jennifer Lopez stars in Brad Peyton’s sci-fi action film, Atlas, a movie that shows the world where AI and humans must navigate their fraught relationship. The film is penned by writers Leo Sardarian and Aron Eli Coleite, blending comedy elements with a commentary on the potential collaborative benefits of artificial intelligence.

Atlas Review: Jennifer Lopez Learns to Love AI in Netflix's Sci-Fi Adventure

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In a not-so-distant future the world is under threat from automatons led by Harlan (Simu Liu), the first AI terrorist.

The film opens with a dystopian barrage of TV news reports detailing a violent uprising, the International Coalition of Nations’ (ICN) counterattack, Harlan’s escape to another planet and his vow to complete his destructive mission.

Thirty years later, Atlas Shepherd (Jennifer Lopez), an expert analyst for the ICN joins an elite squadron tasked with eliminating Harlan before he can carry out his threat.

Brad Peyton’s depiction of a dystopian future is immediate and intense though at times it feels overtly unsubtle.

The initial scenes of robot-led massacres quickly give way to a more balanced narrative that explores the potential for AI-human cooperation.

The introduction of “ARC suits,” mecha operated through a shared consciousness between humans and AI, shifts the film’s tone from fear-mongering to one advocating for regulated coexistence.

Atlas Shepherd, The protagonist initially depicted as a technophobe, finds herself bonding with her ARC suit’s AI, Smith (voiced by Gregory James Cohan). Lopez’s performance is a mix of vulnerability and resilience, as she portrays a character who evolves from a luddite to an advocate for AI collaboration.

Harlan, the antagonist, a rogue AI terrorist whose motivations and actions are reminiscent of classic AI villains. Liu’s performance, while menacing lacks the detachment often associated with AI antagonists.

Colonel Elias Banks, an aggressively pro-AI military officer who provides a counterbalance to Atlas’s initial technophobia. His character’s confidence and eventual cooperation with Atlas highlight the film’s theme of human-AI partnership.

The reliance on digital animation and green screens is evident though it does not detract from the film’s overall visual appeal.

The action sequences involving airborne ARC suits are fluid and engaging. Peyton’s influences such as Titanfall and Pacific Rim are apparent in the design and movement of the mecha. The offworld landscapes provide a visually sharp backdrop for the film’s action.

Sardarian and Coleite’s script is filled with clichés and predictable character arcs. The dialogue often verbalizes the dynamics between characters leading to a lack of subtlety.

The chemistry between Lopez and Cohan’s AI character brings moments of genuine levity and emotional depth to the film.

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Casca Vix, a mechanical assassin with dead-eyed vibes, reminds us of many killer replicants seen in other sci-fi films.

General Jake Boothe, the ICN leader who enlists Atlas’s help in the mission to capture Harlan. Val, Atlas’s mother who developed the first AI being, Harlan. Her backstory provides context for Atlas’s initial distrust of AI.

Atlas suffers from a lack of self-awareness much like other Netflix mockbusters attempting to compete with major studios.

It takes itself too seriously resulting in a humorless film. Jennifer Lopez stars as Atlas Shepherd, a data analyst who must reassess her disdain for AI.

Atlas Shepherd is a misanthropic analyst who distrusts AI due to her past experiences. Raised alongside a robot named Harlan, who became the world’s first AI terrorist.

Three decades after Harlan’s rebellion Atlas joins a mission to capture him. However, when the mission goes awry, she must team up with an AI entity named Smith to survive and succeed.

Lopez spends much of the film inside a robotic mech suit delivering a performance hampered by subpar VFX and corny dialogue.

The movie attempts to inject humor through the interactions between Atlas and Smith, but the script often fails feeling more like a ChatGPT construction rather than authentic banter.

The film is reportedly budgeted at $100 million. Its vision of the future is unimaginative and visually unappealing often resembling an old video game.

The relationship between Atlas and Smith, the AI entity is the film’s highlight. Their dynamic provides moments of genuine humor and warmth despite the overall predictability of the plot.

Simu Liu’s portrayal of Harlan lacks the menace required for a convincing villain rendering his character more boring than frightening.

Lopez shines in the buddy comedy aspect of Atlas, bringing charm and relatability to her character. The film benefits from her portrayal of a misanthropic analyst who gradually warms up to her AI companion.

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