Rats, Cyborgs & Fincher: What Was The Third Part Of The Anthology Love Death + Robots Season 3 & Who Made It Episodes
Short overviews of all episodes and background information about the directors, studios and sources of inspiration for the new season.
The next issue of “Love, Death + Robots” includes nine episodes: we watched four of them at the pre-screening, which was held by Netflix, and the rest after the release of the entire season.
We talk about all the new episodes of the anthology, which is produced by Tim Miller (“Deadpool”) and David Fincher.
“Three Robots: Exit Strategies”
Who drew : Blow Studio
Directed by : Patrick Osborne
Whose Idea : American writer John Scalzi
The trinity of robots, familiar from the first season, conducts a tour of the Earth, where all of humanity has finally died. And maybe not all: people tried to escape, and their methods varied as far as possible – someone managed only to protect themselves with traps, others isolated themselves at their own station in the ocean. How effective these methods turned out to be, and robots tell.
The targets of the authors of this satire are clear from the threshold – this is not only humanity in general, but also individualism, capitalism and all that. And in a short cartoon, where everything is extremely concentrated, it inevitably catches your eye, as jokes on these topics have long been going around in circles. “Millionaire technocrats are the same millionaires, only in hoodies!”. A mockery of Elon Musk! People could survive if they solved problems together instead of (literally) digging holes for each other! Incredible.
In addition, all this, maliciously giggling, the authors with the help of robots speak out loud. Although they could have limited themselves to a camera flight over the created locations, in which the film’s statement is already formed. The remains of people and civilization, carefully made with the help of graphics, are fascinating in themselves and also speak for themselves.
But the creators of “Escape Routes” continue to make arrogant, self-righteous comments in the film, as if they were taken from comments on the Internet (a feeling reinforced by the final plot twist). Perhaps, over time, humanity will reach self-destruction and leave behind only traces. From this short film, however, they probably will not remain.
Night of the Mini Dead
Who drew : BUCK
Directed by : Robert Busey, Andy Lyon
Whose Idea : Directors Tim Miller (Deadpool) and Jeff Fowler (Sonic Movie)
Here’s a much prettier version of the apocalypse. The zombie invasion takes place – with the exception of the plot, which we will not spoil with a retelling – according to the usual pattern: the dead rise from the graves, bite the living, and now the gas station becomes a line of defense with flamethrowers, and bombs have to be dropped on megacities.
The difference between this zombie film and the darkness of the rest is that we are watching the disaster not at the level of the eyes of its victims, but from a bird’s eye view. “Night”, in other words, was made in a tilt-shift format, and therefore everything that we see in the frame – hordes of the dead, military equipment, penguins, St. Basil’s Cathedral – these are miniatures.
Which, on the one hand, makes everything that happens a toy (something like playing cars or soldiers in childhood seems to be), and on the other hand, does not detract from the work done by the authors. The film has the correct length and rhythm (“Night” lasts about five minutes and does not have time to tire), the pictures are filled with hundreds of details.
In addition, “Night” is not just a set of scenes from the rapid end of the world, in it, excuse me, the plan of expression corresponds to the plan of content. Which is that a trifle can lead to incommensurable consequences, and a global catastrophe for humanity, if you look at it more broadly, will mean almost nothing. How fresh this idea is is another question, and if it is developed, it will turn out that there is no need for the “Night” itself either. But even if this film is a trifle in all respects, it is at least pleasant.
Who drew : Axis Studios (makes cinematics for Blizzard, Activision and other gaming giants)
Directed by : Carlos Stevens
Whose Idea : Screenplay by English science fiction writer Joe Abercrombie, based on the story of his colleague Neil Asher.
Who played : Craig Ferguson and Dan Stevens (Legion)
A short and violent short film about a farmer who discovers that the rats in his barns have evolved to use weapons. To deal with rodents, the protagonist orders advanced pest control tools – laser machines and a killer robot.
It turned out spectacularly, incredibly brutally and with a sudden anti-war message.
Who drew : Blur Studio
Who directed : Tim Miller himself, the director of “Deadpool” and one of the authors of the project
Whose Idea : Based on a short story by American science fiction writer Bruce Sterling
Who played : Rosario Dawson (“Sin City”, “Daredevil”)
The protagonist, as a representative of the human race, goes to study the Swarm – at first glance, a perfect colony of cosmic organisms that live in harmony and prosperity. When people try to copy this life model for themselves, they learn the terrible truth about it .
This episode had every chance of becoming the new Beyond the Aquila Rift (both look like Hollywood blockbusters), but, unfortunately, the final twist here is not so impressive – it turned out to be too bookish (in a bad way), and at the end the episode seems to and completely breaks off in mid-sentence.
“Kill Team Kill”
Who drew : Titmouse, Inc.
Directed by : Jennifer Yu Nelson (Kung Fu Panda 3)
Whose idea : a short story by Justin Kots
Who played : Joel McHale (Community), Seth Green and Gabriel Luna (The Last of Us, Terminator: Dark Fate)
A bright, frivolous and very gory short film about the US military, who stumble upon a failed CIA experiment – a giant cyber grizzly bear.
The case when I would like to see a full-fledged animated series about a team of main characters. And an extremely unexpected work from the director of Kung Fu Panda 3.
The Very Pulse Of The Machine
Who drew : Polygon Pictures
Directed by : Emily Dean
Whose Idea : Based on a short story by American science fiction author Michael Swanwick
Who played : Mackenzie Davis (“Blade Runner 2049”, “Station Eleven”)
One of the most visually striking shorts of the third season, which in three words can be described as follows: “The Martian on Drugs.”
A space mission on Io, Jupiter’s moon, is threatened by gas emissions that destroy the rover and kill the co-pilot. The surviving girl must walk several tens of kilometers, dragging a corpse along with her – because her own oxygen tank is damaged. To hold out longer, the heroine begins to inject herself with medications and narcotic substances – until she begins to hallucinate.
This episode would have been much better if there had been uncertainty in the final for the viewer, but for some reason the authors kill it at the last moment. However, due to the stunning cel-shaded art and spectacular visions of the heroine, the episode is worthy of the closest attention.
“In Vaulted Halls” (In Vaulted Halls Entombed)
Who painted : Sony Pictures Imageworks
Directed by : Jerome Chen, graphics supervisor for films like Suicide Squad and the Jumanji reboot
Whose Idea : Based on a short story by British-Australian writer Alan Baxter, specializing in thriller, horror and dark fantasy
Who played : Joe Manganiello (Deathstroke from the DC Universe), Jai Courtney (both Suicide Squads)
An almost photorealistic short film (the characters retained the appearance of the actors playing them) about a detachment of American soldiers who are sent to rescue a terrorist hostage in Afghanistan, but stumble upon an ancient evil .
This is the series “Love, death and robots” that fans of game cinematics and horror will like – the characters die here as terribly as possible. Moreover, the finale, with such a banal plot, turned out to be really strong. With the help of several successful tricks, the authors manage to take the story to the global level in less than 20 minutes – the whole of humanity is under threat.
Who drew : Pinkman.tv
Directed by : Alberto Mielgo
Whose Idea : Alberto Mielgo
The new work of Alberto Mielgo, whom Love, Death and Robots made a star: for the episode “Witness” he received three Emmy awards, and a separate cult was formed around this short film. “Hivaro” also stands out among other series, but will probably cause agitation not so strong.
A detachment of Spanish, apparently, knights falls under the spell of a siren living in the lake and sets off to cover the bottom with bones. Only a warrior survives, almost deaf (how did he survive before?); the destructive call does not reach him, and therefore he hides in the forest. Siren still finds him at night, but does no harm. The soldier does not answer her in the same way: seeing how close the girl got and how much gold and precious stones she had, he sets off in pursuit of her in the morning.
Needless to say, this is not just a beautiful, but rather sexy film (in the broad sense of the word, although, perhaps, in the narrow one). The pagan goddess in the middle of the lake, the macabre dance of the soldiers enchanted by her, the blood dispersing in circles on the water. Mielgo flies from one spectacular scene to another, and it doesn’t look pretentious. And the director of “Hivaro”, unlike his hero, is all right with hearing: the pressure that he creates with the help of sound design is difficult to resist.
The plot is frankly secondary. It is not difficult to see what direction history will take and where it will eventually lead; but Mielgo knows that after a film, especially a short film, what usually remains in the head is not the plot and its moves, but images. And Khivaro has no shortage of them. Let the lake in which this film lives is not deep, but, peering into its waters, it is difficult to look away.
Who drew : Blur Studio
Directed by : David Fincher
Whose idea : based on the short story by English science fiction writer Neil Asher
Who played : Troy Baker (The Last of Us, BioShock Infinite)
“All directors need to fit in 11-15 minutes, and David said: “Fuck all this, I need 20 minutes,” Tim Miller jokingly complained about his co-author. Fincher denied it, but he certainly did; power, absolute creative control over filming is one of his main qualities as a director. And one of his favorite themes (see “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo”, “Gone Girl” and almost all of Fincher’s filmography), which he also addressed in his first animated short.
A giant carnivorous crab attacks the ship of shark hunters: having killed a couple of people on the spot, including the captain, it climbs into the hold and calms down there. In order to reconnoiter the situation, one of the sailors must go down to the lower deck, but no one is willing. Then the reasonable and polite Torrin (with the voice of Troy Baker) offers to draw lots – the problem is that others do not share his sense of justice and send Torrin himself to the monster. A little later, to the surprise of the crew, he will get out of the hold alive and tell that the situation is even more complicated than it seemed.
I don’t want to report what Torrin encountered in the hold and what it led to, so as not to blurt out the plot twists – not exactly discouraging, but quite well-organized and effective. Associated, as already mentioned, with power relations: suspense is built on a change in the roles of leaders and followers, a change in the balance of power. In the dynamics of these relations, not only sailors, but also a crab participate, and their choice (another subject of the film) does not always lead to the expected consequences – often we do not fully know who will control the situation in the next scene.
But the further, the clearer it becomes that David Fincher simply could not help making this film. His favorite ideas, techniques, moods and even colors (everything is flooded with blue and black, and yellow breaks into the frame at sunset) are concentrated with such density that it seems as if Neil Asher, the author of the story “The Bad Journey”, wrote specifically for him. And the genius of the director is that another director, an ordinary one, would stretch this material for a couple of hours, but Fincher does not need this – to make a wonderful movie, he needs, though not 11-15, but only 20 minutes.
David Fincher on the canceled episode of “Love, Death and Robots” from the game developer and the work of AlbertoMielgo
Director/Producer David Fincher gave a lengthy interview to Collider about working on the third installment of the Love, Death & Robots anthology, talking about his episode as well as his other work and plans for the future.
About the episode “Bad Traveling”
As it turns out, early drafts of this episode had been sitting in Blur’s drawer for about 15 years, and were used for early pitches for what would eventually become the first season of Love, Death & Robots.
When choosing a visual style, Fincher knew that he wanted to make a short with a more or less realistic picture.
In early versions of the story, events unfolded on a ship with spices, and the costumes of the characters resembled those from the short film “Jibaro” by Alberto Mielgo. Over time, the authors from Blur came to more neutral images of sailors.
One of Fincher’s inspirations was Ridley Scott’s Alien, in which the crew of a space tug find themselves in a similar situation to the sailors in his work, having to deal with disagreements at the peak of their survival instinct.
About episode “Jibaro” by Alberto Mielgo
David Fincher specifically noted the work of animator and director Alberto Mielgo, whom viewers know from the episode “The Witness” from the first season. He said that he even shared the short film “Jibaro” with director Steven Soderbergh.
According to the director, if someone says that he does not like the new work of Alberto Mielgo, he will calmly delete this person from his life, never to talk to him again.
About the failed episode from the game developer
When working on an anthology, the producers communicate with many potential authors, and they do not always manage to work together. For example, they really wanted to include a short film from a well-known game developer in the third part, but nothing came of it.
However, Fincher does not exclude that some of the failed negotiations can still be resumed in the future.
About plans for something more
David Fincher does not hide the fact that he would like to see about 18-22 episodes in each part of the anthology, and that these parts come out once a year, but it is almost impossible to realize this.
The director also noted that, theoretically, an episode of 30-40 minutes could be included in the anthology, but the problem is in the allowable budget. Producers don’t want to push artists away because they treat them more like friends than employees. However, he acknowledges that 20 minutes of running time is not necessarily worth twice as much as 10 minutes.
Tim Miller and David Fincher are also discussing the idea of including live action shorts in addition to animation in their project, but they have nothing to share in this regard yet.
Anyway, “Love, death and robots” was never conceived as a project that could bring a lot of money.