The adults lost the war and now the kids must save the world! Robots rule the streets and the people are locked up in their homes, risking being vaporised should they step outside. Through the ruins of Britain a group of kids, led by Callan McAuliffe (The Great Gatsby), set out to join the resistance. Hot on their heels however is their old teacher turned traitor Mr. Smythe played by Ben Kingsley (Iron Man 3) and his captive Gillian Anderson (The X-Files).
There is a fundamental problem with Robot Overlords, and it’s something that I feel is true of most British movies that try to go big like their U.S. counterparts, is that they just are never big enough. Yes the FX are impressive for the most part, but compared to movies like Transformers and Pacific Rim, Robot Overlords suffers. If this was something that was made in the U.S. it would be straight to DVD fare, as something of this budget would probably not get a cinema release. Which is sad, but true, as movie goers are used to big, epic movies with amazing effects, and Robot Overlords just doesn’t cut the mustard.
In the acting stakes things fare a bit better, but not much. Gillian Anderson is always worth a watch, she’s as gorgeous as ever and hearing her speak in her normal English accent is strange when you’ve just finished an X-Files marathon. Ben Kingsley however just seems to phone it in. Once upon a time he was an actor of some stature, but now makes some terrible role choices, which somewhat undo all the work he has put in through the years. Director Jon Wright who also directed the hilarious ‘Grabbers’, does well here. He manages to create some moments of real menace with the robots, but in the end it’s the effects that hamstring the movie, representing a video game instead of a movie.
Robot Overlords is presented in 16:9.1 aspect ratio, which gives it a real cinematic feel. The picture is incredibly clear, but does show some of the shortcomings of the VFX. There is also some heavy DNR going on with the robots which was distracting.
There are two choices for the audio. You can choose the 5.1 surround sound or the standard 2.0 stereo.
There are a lot of cool extras included which I was very impressed with. For starters you have a music video by Mat Zo: Robots Never Lie, which runs for 3:48. However I’m not much of a drum n base fan so it wasn’t for me. There is a short cast book reading excerpt (1:14), a making of, which was quite informative to watch (23:55), some VFX (6:07) and some cast interviews, which consist of star James Tarpey interviewing some of the stars and the director at MCM Comic Con (29:18).
An admirable attempt at matching the big boys in the States, but sadly looks like a glorified Doctor Who episode. The VFX are mildly impressive, but just not good enough.
Buy your copy on Blu-ray from Amazon.co.uk