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The Conservative Critic

Is Atlas J. Lo’s action star comeback? 

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Atlas released on Netflix over Memorial Day weekend. Starring Jennifer Lopez in the titular role, Atlas is set in a not-too-distant future where artificial intelligence (AI) robots have risen up and committed genocide against the human race. Having been defeated, certain AI robots are hiding across space from the human governments of planet earth. Atlas is a government analyst thrown in over her head when she sets off to neutralize the world’s biggest AI threat with which she has a personal connection. 

With timely subject matter and a star-studded cast, is Atlas  the action come-back J. Lo has been waiting for? The Conservative Critic asks: Is it good? Does it have artistic/intellectual value? Is it liberal propaganda? 

The Conservative Critic Meter Check: Atlas

Overall rating: Uninspired 

Despite its cast, Atlas struggles to have anything new or interesting to say about the ethics of AI or even about a sci-fi action movie. Atlas never has the courage to fully flush out the science of its concept and at the same time doesn’t do enough to grab at viewers emotional heart strings. Not even grasping for cheap entertainment value, the bulk of the film takes place in very tight quarters and is essentially a very long monologue. Atlas literally gives no room for Jennifer Lopez to shine and gives almost no screen time to screen worthy castmates like Simu Liu (Barbie, Shang Chi and the 10 Rings) and Sterling K. Brown (Black Panther, This is Us). 

Overall, Atlas feels underdeveloped and a bit like a knock-off of a better movie. 

Is it entertaining? 

Rating: No

The biggest crime of Atlas is that it is so one noted. Atlas ends up inside a big AI robot machine and spends the entire movie in there talking to the robot. They traverse a wide territory and there are action sequences but all experienced from inside the machine which is all but indestructible. It’s all the claustrophobia of Gravity with none of the actual gravity. It’s a crime against the concept because there is ample opportunity for the story to take different turns and segments and push Atlas outside of the robot and into new circumstances. There was a lot of world creation that is completely ignored. It really seems like the filmmakers just wanted to do the cheapest thing possible which is to pay mostly one actor and have her sit in a chair for the entire filming. CGI comes pretty cheap these days. 

Ultimately the effect is an extremely boring movie which has nothing much to say despite the entire film being speech. 

Does it have artistic/intellectual value? 

Rating: The acting is sound

While the writing and filming of Atlas make it extremely boring and claustrophobic as well as completely unoriginal, the acting is actually pretty sound. With 90% of the movie an upclose shot of Jennifer Lopez’s face while she talks about stuff, she isn’t given room to fall out of character or deliver a cheesy line and she never does. Lopez commits to Atlas well and brings a credible and likable performance to a movie which didn’t deserve it. Lopez shines on screen and is easy to root for. Additionally, Simu Liu with his very limited screen time is extremely creepy as the bad AI robot. Liu is one of the more charismatic leading men of modern movies (Shang Chi is the most underrated MCU hero bar none) and all of that charm is lost and replaced with a sinister, slimy, scary baddie. It’s surprising. He was so creepy I almost didn’t like it (because I love him in everything). Sterling K. Brown as always brings emotional weight and confidence. Lana Parilla (Once Upon a Time) has a small but powerful part which she handles beautifully. The entire cast really brought everything to the table and were ultimately let down by the overall creative direction of the movie. 

Is it liberal propaganda? 

Rating: Quiet right lean

Atlas isn’t trying for any political bend but it accidentally has a bit of right lean because at the end of the day if anyone is going to be skeptical of advancing technology which can replace humans it’s going to be conservatives. Conservatives won’t even get vaccines anymore. I doubt they’re going to get their brains synced to a robot computer.

In short

Atlas is not very inspired and the solid acting was not well served by the creators of the film.

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